Hurricane Michael could be near Category 4 at landfall

U.S. & World

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) — Forecasters say major Hurricane Michael is better organized and expected to strengthen further and be near a highly dangerous Category 4 strength as it approaches a projected Wednesday landfall in north Florida.

Michael is currently a powerful Category 3 hurricane packing top winds of 120 mph. At 8 p.m. EDT Tuesday, the hurricane’s eye was located about 255 miles south of Panama City, Florida, or about 235 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida. The enormous storm system is moving north across the eastern Gulf of Mexico at 12 mph.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Michael will push life-threatening storm surge onto parts of the Gulf Coast during the day Wednesday, bringing with it dangerous winds and heavy rains.

Though the storm is expected to weaken once it heads inland over the U.S. Southeast, tropical storm watches and warnings are in place along a stretch of the Atlantic seaboard in a region from northeast Florida to North Carolina.

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