At a Glance
- Michael is expected to make landfall along Florida's northeastern Gulf Coast Wednesday.
- A Category 4 or stronger hurricane has never made landfall in the Florida Panhandle.
- Catastrophic storm surge and destructive winds will occur near the landfall in the Florida Panhandle.
- Over a million power outages will occur not just near the coast, but also inland after landfall.
- Rainfall flooding is also a significant threat inland into the Carolinas.
Hurricane Michael is headed for a catastrophic, unprecedented Category 4 strike on the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend with a massive storm surge and over 100 mph winds possible not just near the coast, but also inland that could leave some areas without power for over a week.
If Michael makes landfall as a Category 4 storm, as expected, it will be the strongest hurricane to ever come ashore along the Florida Panhandle in records dating to 1851, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, tropical scientist at Colorado State University. In fact, Florida's entire Gulf Coast north of Punta Gorda has never recorded a Category 4-plus hurricane landfall.
No longtime residents of this area will have seen a hurricane this strong before.
As the National Weather Service in Tallahassee emphasized early Wednesday, this morning is the last chance to get to a safe place in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend hurricane and storm surge warned areas.