Hurricane Michael continued its march toward the Gulf Coast on Wednesday morning as a Category 4 Hurricane. It’s expected to make landfall around mid-day between Panama City and Mexico Beach – and could still be a Category 4 storm when it does. Michael is forecast to track to the northeast after landfall and only deliver a glancing blow to most of the state.
The exception being the southeastern corner of the state near the Dothan area, which could see significant effects from the storm. Forecasters say they expect strong damaging winds, heavy rain and possible tornadoes to impact the region as Michael makes landfall. The weather service also said to expect widespread power outages that could last days to even a week.
Four counties in Alabama are now under a hurricane warning: Dale, Geneva, Henry and Houston. According to the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Fla., the southeast corner of Alabama has the potential to see winds of 74 to 85 mph as Michael moves inland:
Michael’s effects will be felt farther to the north and west as well. A tropical storm warning remains in effect for Baldwin, Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Escambia, Mobile, Pike and Russell counties in Alabama.
The impacts from Michael will be more limited for most of central and all of north Alabama, according to the weather service. Areas along and south of Interstate 85 are expected to experience the most effects from the storm, with 2-5 inches of rain possible. Winds could reach 20-30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph, according to the weather service in Birmingham.
The central Alabama counties under a tropical storm warning are Pike, Barbour, Bullock and Russell. The National Weather Service in Huntsville is expecting Michael’s wind and rain to stay to the east of north Alabama, and no impacts are expected in the region.
North Alabama will get some rain today, however, but it will be from a cold front that is forecast to move into the state later today.
There could be locally heavy downpours at times, according to the weather service.
(The National Weather Service/al.com/www.al.com)