Hurricane Michael heads for Florida coast on northern course toward N.S.

Hurricane Michael seen from space off the coast of Florida

Modal Trigger Hurricane Michael seen from space off the coast of Florida NASA

Between 4 inches (10 centimeters) and 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain are expected in southwest and central Georgia. Sustained winds will likely exceed 30 miles per hour, and gusts may exceed 45 miles per hour in many locations across central and southern Virginia.

"Safety is our top priority, and EREC is taking all measures to ensure the safety of our employees and the public in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael", said Clay Campbell, General Manager/CEO.

Based on wind speed, Michael is the fourth-strongest USA -landfalling hurricane, behind Andrew, Camille in 1969, and the biggest one of all, an unnamed 1935 Labor Day storm that had winds of 184 miles per hour. National Hurricane Center, the storm made landfall before 2 p.m. ET.

"And then you're going to see rainfall through South and North Carolina, dumping 4 to 6 inches of rain in rivers that are already saturated and haven't really receded much from Florence a few weeks ago".

Around 375,000 people were under either mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders across 18 counties in Florida in preparation of the storm, and a state of emergency had been declared in 35 counties prior to the storm making landfall.

In a tweet on Wednesday morning, Scott said "If you chose to state in an evacuation zone, you must SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY".

The projected path of the storm remains unchanged.

A possible catastrophic landfall with destructive storm surge, winds and rain on the Florida Panhandle near Panama City is now predicted around 3 p.m.

Tallahassee is also going to be dealing with hurricane force winds Wednesday afternoon.

The outer bands of the massive storm are beginning to reach the Gulf Coast.

Among people who had fled their homes was Betty Early, 75, a retiree who joined about 300 fellow evacuees huddled on makeshift bed rolls of blankets and collapsed cardboard boxes at an elementary school serving as an American Red Cross shelter in Panama City, near the storm's expected landfall. High winds also forced officials to close several bridges in Bay County.

As if one unsafe cyclone wasn't enough, Hurricane Michael now threatens to unleash tornadoes during its rampage across the Southeast.

Tyndall is home to the 325th Fighter Wing.

Governor Rick Scott said that it was now time to take refuge as Hurricane Michael, the worst to hit Florida was over them. It strengthened from a tropical storm on Sunday to a Category 1 hurricane with 75-mph winds on Monday.

The storm was expected to begin lashing the coast with tropical-storm force as soon as Tuesday night. Southwestern Franklin County in Big Bend of Florida.* Until 215 PM EDT/115 PM CDT/.* At 1109 AM EDT/1009 AM CDT/, National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated extreme winds in excess of 130 miles per hour, associated with the eyewall of Hurricane Michael, were moving onshore.

The National Hurricane Center says Michael has become an extremely unsafe Category 4 storm. "A National Ocean Service water level station at Apalachicola recently reported over 7.7 feet of inundation above ground level", the Hurricane Center said.

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