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Michael weakens to a tropical storm, flooding still a factor on Gulf coast

Posted: 5:01 PM, Oct 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-11 09:38:58Z
Hurricane Michael strengthens to a Cat 3 storm
Hurricane Michael strengthens to a Cat 3 storm
Hurricane Michael strengthens to a Cat 3 storm
Hurricane Michael strengthens to a Cat 3 storm

Major Hurricane Michael strengthened to nearly a Category 5 storm as it made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida Wednesday afternoon. Max sustained winds reached 155 mph, just two miles per hour shy of Category 5 strength.

LINK: State of Florida Emergency Info

By 5 a.m. Thursday, the storm weakened to a tropical storm over eastern Georgia with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.

Hurricane Michael is the strongest storm to strike the continental United States since 1969, causing a devastating storm surge in Mexico Beach, Florida, that damaged homes and swamped streets. This is officially the third strongest storm to hit the United States.

VIDEO |  Hurricane Michael slams Florida's Panhandle 

SCHOOL CLOSINGS |  Official list of school closings

BE PREPARED |  ABC Action News Hurricane Center

SUMMARY OF 500 AM EDT...0900 UTC...INFORMATION
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LOCATION...33.5N 82.5W
ABOUT 30 MI...45 KM W OF AUGUSTA GEORGIA
ABOUT 90 MI...145 KM NE OF MACON GEORGIA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...50 MPH...85 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NE OR 45 DEGREES AT 21 MPH...33 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...983 MB...29.03 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS
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CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

The Storm Surge Warning is discontinued for the Gulf coast of Florida.

The Tropical Storm Warning is discontinued along the Georgia and Florida coast south of Altamaha Sound.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for...
* Ocracoke Inlet North Carolina to Duck North Carolina

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Altamaha Sound Georgia to Duck North Carolina
* Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline.

Interests elsewhere across the southeastern United States should monitor the progress of Michael.

For storm information specific to your area, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK
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At 500 AM EDT (0900 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Michael was located near latitude 33.5 North, longitude 82.5 West. Michael is moving toward the northeast near 21 mph (33 km/h) and this motion is expected to continue with an increase in forward speed through tonight.  A turn toward the east-northeast and an even faster forward speed are expected on Friday.  On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move through eastern Georgia into central South Carolina this morning, then moves across portions of central and eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean by late tonight or early Friday.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 50 mph (85 km/h) with higher gusts.  Some additional weakening is expected today while the center remains over land.  However, Michael is forecast to intensify as it becomes a post-tropical low over the Atlantic late tonight or early Friday.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles (260 km) mainly to the southeast of the center.  Louisville, Georgia recently reported a wind gust of 60 mph (97 km/h), and there are several reports of wind gusts of 40-50 mph (65-80 km/h) in the Augusta area.

The estimated minimum central pressure based on surface observations is 983 mb (29.03 inches).

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
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STORM SURGE:  Water levels are receding along the Gulf Coast of Florida.  Along the southeast coast of the United States, the combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will continue to cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide...

Sound side of the North Carolina Outer Banks from Ocracoke Inlet to Duck...2-4 ft

WIND:  Tropical storm conditions are occurring over portions of eastern and southeastern Georgia, and will spread across portions of central and southern South Carolina this morning.

Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread northward within the warning area along the southeast U.S. coast beginning this morning through Friday.

Gale- to storm-force winds are expected over portions of southeastern Virginia, extreme northeastern North Carolina, and the Delmarva Peninsula as Michael becomes post-tropical off the Mid-Atlantic coast late tonight or early Friday.

RAINFALL: Michael is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 4 to 7 inches from eastern Georgia to the southern Mid-Atlantic states and 1 to 3 inches over the northern Mid-Atlantic states and coastal southern New England.  Isolated maximum amounts of 9 inches are possible in North Carolina and Virginia.  This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods.

TORNADOES:  Isolated tornadoes are possible today over portions of eastern South Carolina, eastern and central North Carolina, and southeast Virginia.

SURF:  Swells generated by Michael will affect the coasts of the eastern, northern, and western Gulf of Mexico through this morning. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.  Please consult products from your local weather office.

NEXT ADVISORY
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Next intermediate advisory at 800 AM EDT.
Next complete advisory at 1100 AM EDT.