Hurricane Michael bears down on Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael continues to bear down on the Florida Panhandle and is now forecast to be a major Category 3 hurricane by the time it makes landfall Wednesday afternoon. A storm surge watch is in place for Northwest Florida with a surge warning from the Okaloosa/Walton County line eastward, reports WEAR-TV.

The “cone of uncertainty” issued by The National Hurricane Center extends from Okaloosa County in Northwest Florida to just east of the Big Bend. It is important to be prepared even if you are currently outside of the cone as it very well may move slightly east or west.

Locations that end up east of the center will see the greatest impacts from Michael which will include storm surge (possibly 9-12 feet), several inches of rain (up to 12 inches possible) and tropical-storm-force/possibly hurricane-force winds. Areas west of the center will still see high seas, high rip current risk and scattered showers, but the west side is normally considered the “better” side to be on due to an offshore wind. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles from the center.

Regardless of where it may make landfall, it is important to be prepared as impacts can be felt far from the center of the storm. People living along the Gulf Coast should review any hurricane plans today.

Santa Rosa County released the following information about evacuations, according to WKRG:

Residents of mobile homes, in campers, at campsites, or in low-lying areas are recommended to evacuate. A recommended evacuation is a request for evacuation. Residents in those areas are encouraged to seek refuge on their own initiative and independently find accommodations in a safe area.

Click here to read more tips regarding evacuations.

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