The storm has touched down as a Category 4 hurricane
Hurricane Michael has made landfall as a Category 4 storm near Mexico Beach, Fla. The storm brings with it life-threatening storm surges, heavy rainfall and hurricane-force winds. With maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, the storm could bring storm surges up to 14 ft along the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend.
Hurricane Michael is the first Category 4 or stronger hurricane recorded to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle and the strongest storm to hit the U.S. this year. Storm surge warnings are in effect from the Okaloosa/Walton County line in Florida to Anclote River, Fla., according to the Weather Channel. Additional storm surge watches are in effect for portions of North Carolina. The storm is expected to move northeast across Georgia and into the Carolinas before heading into the Atlantic over Thursday and Friday.
Already, storm surges have been reported cresting floodwalls in Gulf County, Fla., and damaging infrastructure, as reported by CNN. A state of emergency has been declared in 108 Georgia counties and at least 51,000 customers are without power along the Florida Panhandle. As a storm originating from the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Michael also brings the threat of tornadoes.
Experts have pointed to the severity of the storm using the Waffle House Index, as already locations of the establishment famous for remaining open 24-hour throughout disasters have closed in Panama City, Fla.
#HurricaneMichael intensified as the storm made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, at around 1:30 p.m. ET. @NOAA's #GOESEast satellite captured this view of the Cat. 4 hurricane moving ashore. Latest updates from @NHC_Atlantic: https://t.co/gcFrOMm2RR pic.twitter.com/ZIqmQslbYP
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) October 10, 2018