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No one likes Mike —
“Near worst-case” scenario storm now packs winds of 150mph.
11:30am ET Update: The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Michael has continued to intensify Wednesday. As of 11:30am ET, the storm had 150mph winds. Its central pressure also continues to plummet, dropping to 923 millibars and indicating better overall organization. This means that Michael is almost certain to be among the top 10 most intense landfalling US hurricanes and could soon bypass Hurricane Andrew to enter the top five.
Original post: Hurricane Michael continued to intensify during Tuesday night, bringing an unprecedentedly strong storm to the northwest Florida coast on Wednesday. This is a serious situation for the Florida Panhandle and downstream areas in southeastern Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
As of the National Hurricane Center’s 9:30am ET update, Michael had 145mph sustained winds, solidly in the range of a Category-4 major hurricane. Winds along the Florida coast were already rising above tropical storm strength at the time, all but closing the window for further evacuations as the storm nears shore and moves inland later today.
Perhaps most concerning, Michael’s central pressure continued to fall during the overnight hours, down to 933 millibars by Wednesday, shortly before noon. This is an indication of the storm’s organization, and with Michael’s satellite appearance actually improving as the storm approaches land, some slight further intensification is possible today before landfall near Panama City.
Meteorologists are reacting to the rapidly intensifying storm with some measure of alarm. Mike Bettes, a meteorologist with The Weather Channel, noted on Twitter Wednesday morning that his crew was pulling out of Apalachicola, a small coastal communi