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. Heavy and steady rain and wind is expected to start locally sometime between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., with winds beginning to gust toward 40 miles per hour.
And none of the factors that hold a storm back were present, especially something called "wind shear".
It will gradually downgrade in speed and severity before leaving land on Friday.
And people living far away from the center of the hurricane aren't immune.
The weather experts warned that the hurricane could become stronger before making landfall near Panama and Florida late Wednesday.
NHC Director Ken Graham said Michael represented a "textbook case" of a hurricane system growing stronger as it drew near shore, in contrast to Hurricane Florence, which struck North Carolina last month after weakening in a slow, halting approach. The only storms with lower pressure were Hurricane Camille in 1969, and the unnamed Labor Day hurricane of 1935.
It was expected to continue intensifying overnight and would be near category 4 status on Wednesday morning.
"Storm surge will be the most damaging aspect of the storm", says Kottlowski.
In its discussion, the center said the environment ahead of Michael was conducive to intensification.
The storm caused widespread destruction in Central America over the weekend, where at least 13 people have been reported dead. Tropical-storm force winds extending 185 miles (295 kilometers) from the center were already lashing the coast.
"Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls". One positive thing about the storm is that it will be moving quickly and will not stall over an area, like Florence did. The central pressure remains 965 millibars.
"Panama City, I don't know if there will be much left".
There was no change in the watches and warnings lineup from the previous advisory.
Florida authorities said they expected Michael to hit the state as a category 3.
Members of the Florida National Guard chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense (CBRN) Enhanced Response Force Package prepare to help citizens in affected areas prior to landfall of Hurricane Michael at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center near Starke, Fla., on October 9, 2018.
As of 10 a.m., the hurricane watch for the coast of Alabama was discontinued. Right before the storm makes landfall, the water it goes over will be 4 to 5 degrees (2.2 to 2.8 degrees Celsius) warmer than normal giving Michael "just an extra kick", he said.
The warning is relatively new to the NWS which developed the EWW in response to confusion resulting from the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. There is no way to hide from storm surge.
Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for.
Michael crashed onto Florida's coast Wednesday with 155 miles per hour winds - strong enough to demolish houses.
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