HOLT, Fla., Oct. 10, 2010—Hurricane Michael is still strengthening as the eye of the storm nears the Florida coast according to the National Hurricane Center’s 10 a.m. storm update.
Landfall is expected early this afternoon.
Data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate the pressure has continued to fall this morning and is now around 923 mb and additional intensification is possible with only a few hours left over water.
Additionally, the reconnaissance missions found sustained winds have increased to 150 mph with higher gusts.
While Michael is inching toward becoming a Category 5 storm, it’s unknown if it will achieve the 157 mph sustained winds needed before landfall. Regardless, Hurricane Michael is a deadly catastrophic major hurricane, according to the NHC.
Although steady weakening is predicted once the hurricane moves inland, the core of Michael will bring hurricane-force winds well inland over the Florida Panhandle, southeast Alabama and southwest Georgia, according to the NHC forecast.
Life-threatening storm surge is occurring along portions of the Florida panhandle, Big Bend and the Nature Coast.
The worst storm surge is expected later today and tonight between Tyndall Air Force Base and Keaton Beach, where 9-to-14 feet of inundation is possible.
Michael will produce potentially catastrophic wind damage where the core of the hurricane moves onshore later today in the Florida panhandle, with the highest risk between Apalachicola and Panama City.