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Hurricane Michael closes in on landfall along Florida Panhandle

Winds now up to 150 mph as storm lashes Gulf Coast

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Extremely dangerous Category 4 Hurricane Michael is nearing landfall just east of Panama City near Mexico Beach. 

The center is 15 miles west-southwest of Mexico Beach.

LATEST: Hurricane Michael makes landfall as powerful Category 4 storm

An Extreme Wind Warning was issued for Hurricane Michael's eyewall about 11:45 a.m. Wednesday. The warning was in effect until 2:15 p.m. for Gulf County, Southern Bay County and Southwestern Franklin County. Residents were urged to take cover and treat the winds like an approaching tornado.

The latest advisory, posted Wednesday at 1 p.m., shows the storm with sustained winds of 150 mph. It continued north-northeast at 14 mph. It was about 20 miles south of Panama City.

SLIDESHOW: National Guard and Navy prepare for Hurricane Michael's arrival

Jacksonville will experience tropical storm force gusts Thursday morning long after the hurricane makes landfall and pushes northwest of Waycross in central Georgia.

Isolated tornadoes are possible overnight Wednesday in southern Georgia which is under a tropical storm warning.

Forecasters anticipate Michael will reach land either in the Panhandle or somewhere along the state's Big Bend on Wednesday afternoon. 

Michael is also expected to dump heavy rainfall along the northeastern Gulf Coast. Jacksonville will experience tropical downpours and storms by Wednesday evening as the system makes landfall.

Below is a summary of the watches and warnings currently in effect:

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for...

  • Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida to Anclote River Florida

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for...

  • Anclote River Florida to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay
  • Ocracoke Inlet North Carolina to Duck North Carolina

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for... 

  • Alabama/Florida border to Suwannee River Florida

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...

  • Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border
  • Suwanee River Florida to Chassahowitzka Florida
  • North of Fernandina Beach Florida to South Santee River South Carolina 
  • Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...

  • Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay

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