LIVE UPDATES: Hurricane Michael becomes Category 4 before making landfall

Hurricane Michael forecast to become Category 4 before making landfall

ATLANTA — Hurricane Michael continues to gain strength and became a Category 4 storm overnight.

On the Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat at 11, Severe Weather Team 2 Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns called Michael one of the most ferocious storms he's ever seen.

[THE LATEST: Hurricane Michael becomes 'extremely dangerous' Category 4 storm]

Content Continues Below

Gov. Nathan Deal has announced a state of emergency for portions of Georgia ahead of Hurricane Michael's impact on the state.

Michael was originally projected to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a Category 2 storm, according to Severe Weather Team 2. The storm at midday Tuesday already had winds of 110 mph.

Michael is about 400 miles wide and the eye of the storm is moving over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said Michael is only expected to get stronger as it makes landfall. Nitz added that the strongest hurricanes to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle were both 125 mph, Category 3 storms. One in 1975, the other in 1882.

Hurricane Michael has the potential to tie or break this record.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in 35 counties. Floridians aren't taking any chances. People have lined up for gasoline and have boarded up homes and businesses in preparation for the storm's arrival.

Channel 2 Action News

has crews in Florida and north Georgia on the ground ready to bring you all

<p>Buildings in Panama City seen boarded up in preparation for Michael&#39;s arrival</p>

Buildings in Panama City seen boarded up in preparation for Michael's arrival

the details during the storm and its aftermath. During

Channel 2 Action News at 4,

was reporting from Panama City Beach, an area that is expected to take a direct hit from Hurricane Michael. Huddleston showed us a fairly deserted beach with strong currents hitting buoys and rough waves.

Severe Weather Team 2 is using Storm Tracker HD, the most powerful radar in the world, to track the storm. We'll have LIVE coverage of the impacts on Georgia, on Channel 2 Action News This Morning, starting 4:30 a.m.

Minute-by-minute Updates:
10:55 p.m.

Hurricane Michael could make landfall in a matter of hours as a Category 4 storm. Maximum sustained winds are now up to 125 mph.

9:00 p.m.

Hurricane Michael is still hours from making landfall and a surfer may have already drowned off the panhandle. Fire officials are searching for a missing surfer along Navarre Beach, Florida.

8:43 p.m.

Hurricane Michael continues to gain strength. Severe Weather Team 2 Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns believes it could turn into a Category 4 storm.

5:52 p.m.

With strong wind and spring tides, beaches on Tybee Island have closed to swimmers until further notice.

5:00 p.m.

Hurricane Michael has been upgraded to a major category 3 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. Severe Weather Team 2 chief meteorologist Glenn Burns has an update NOW on Channel 2 Action News.

The National Hurricane Center says this storm has life threatening storm surge. Unsure of what storm surge is, click here to understand why it is dangerous.

4:40 p.m.

Nitz released an updated graphic of potential storm surge inland near the mouth of the Apalachiola River.

4:30 pm.

How much rainfall can Georgia see during this rain system?

Burns says we can expect to see 4-6 inches in Athens, Eatonton and Griffin. Rainfall amounts in Atlanta are expected to be 1-2 inches.

2:30 p.m.

Severe Weather Team 2 Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns and meteorologist Brad Nitz analyzed the new data from 2 p.m. advisory and answered your questions on WSBTV.com and Facebook page.

HURRICANE MICHAEL UPDATE: Category 2 storm takes aim at Florida panhandle

HURRICANE MICHAEL UPDATE: The Category 2 storm it taking aim at the Florida panhandle and it WILL impact Georgia. Severe Weather Team 2 Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns & Meteorologist Brad Nitz are here to answer your questions. Ask away!

Posted by WSB-TV on Tuesday, October 9, 2018
1:50 p.m.:

Georgia Southern University announced that their Statesboro, Armstrong and Liberty campuses will be closed. Classes and all university sponsored classes will be canceled on Wednesday, October 10.

1:00 p.m.:

Channel 2's Chris Jose is headed to Valdosta, Georgia, and Channel 2's Dave Huddleston is en route to Panama City Beach, Florida. Jose and Huddleston will lead our LIVE Severe Weather Team 2 Coverage on Channel 2 Action News starting at 4 p.m.

12:41 p.m.: 

Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall around 1 p.m. near Panama City.

12:07 p.m.:

President Donald Trump tweeted that he wants everyone in the way of the storm to "heed the directions of your State and Local Officials."

12:02 p.m.:

Channel 2's Dave Huddleston was on Channel 2 Action News at Noon where he was heading to Panama City Beach and said traffic is fairly light on the interstate.

11:54 a.m.:
11:22 a.m.:

Atlanta Motor Speedway announces it will open its campgrounds for Hurricane Michael evacuees.

11 a.m.:

Hurricane Hunter Aircraft reports that Michael is still strengthening, and it is forecast to be a Major Hurricane (Cat. 3+) at landfall.

10:47 a.m.:

Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brad Nitz said 8-12 foot storm surge is expected in the northeast Gulf of Mexico.

10:40 a.m.:

Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brad Nitz said that Tropical Storm Nadine has formed int he Atlantic but is no threat to land for now.

9:58 a.m.:

The State of Emergency act is for one week and covers 92 counties in areas of middle and south Georgia.

Deal said of the declaration: "The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Michael."

Michael strengthened into a Category 2 storm around 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Thousands of people are having to leave their homes Tuesday as Michael takes aim at the Florida panhandle.

Hurricane Forecast

The hurricane is continuing to gain strength as it churns in the Gulf of Mexico.

Channel 2's team of Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologists have been tracking the storms using the most powerful weather technology in the world.

Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Karen Minton said the storm is expected to make landfall Wednesday as a major hurricane.

As of Tuesday morning, the storm has maximum sustained winds of 100 mph and is moving north-northwest at 12 mph.

Georgia Prepares for Effects of Michael

The Hurricane Center issued hurricane and tropical storm watches for parts of South Georgia.

Severe Weather Team 2 warned of rough winds and a high risk of flooding. Parts of southeast Georgia could also see tropical storm-force conditions.

A Flash Flood Watch goes into effect Wednesday night through Thursday for parts of eastern metro Atlanta. Isolated six to seven inches is possible for some areas.

Severe Weather Team 2 Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns said there is a marginal risk for tornadoes in southwest Georgia.

Some schools in Georgia have begun canceling classes this week as the hurricane gets closer to the mainland.

Mandatory Evacuations for Florida

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in 35 counties ahead of Michael's predicted landfall on Wednesday.

Described by Scott as both "monstrous" and "massive," Michael could make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

"Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades," Scott said at a press conference Monday evening.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered in parts of Panama City Beach started at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Due to Hurricane Michael, Panama City Beach is under a mandatory evacuation of Zones A, B and C. The order will be...

Posted by City of Panama City Beach-Government on Monday, October 8, 2018

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for...

  • Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida to Anclote River Florida

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for...

  • Anclote River Florida to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay
  • Alabama/Florida border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...

  • Alabama/Florida border to Suwannee River Florida

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...

  • Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...

  • Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border
  • Suwanee River Florida to Chassahowitzka Florida

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...

  • Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay
  • Mississippi/Alabama border to the Mouth of the Pearl River
  • Fernandina Beach, Florida to South Santee River, South Carolina

A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations. This is alife-threatening situation.  People located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials.

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.  A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-
force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.  Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area.  A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

HURRICANE MICHAEL LATEST: Category 2 storm takes aim at Florida panhandle

HURRICANE MICHAEL UPDATE: Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brad Nitz is here to answer your questions as the Category 2 storm takes aim at Florida. (LIVE Minute-By-Minute UPDATES: 2wsb.tv/MichaelTuesday)

Posted by WSB-TV on Tuesday, October 9, 2018