Powerful Hurricane Michael muscled itself ashore near Mexico Beach in Florida, between Panama City and Port St. Joe, during the noon hour CT on Wednesday, packing winds of 155 miles per hour.

Hurricane Michael, born in the Caribbean before a relentless northward advance toward a preparing Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region, intensified to a Category 4 storm overnight and continued to build through Wednesday morning as it approached the Gulf Coast.

Thousands were without power as Michael moved over land.

Ahead of landfall, the National Hurricane Center warned of "life-threatening storm surge." Storm surge was predicted to be upwards of nine feet for locations east of the center.

The strengthening storm earned the label of "extremely dangerous" from the National Hurricane Center.

In the FOX10 News viewing area, residents can count their blessings for being on the "good" side of the storm. FOX10 News meteorologist Michael White says, "We'll see rough surf and breezy winds, but no other major threats due to being so far west of the center."

To the east, Florida residents knew they were looking at a vastly different picture, however.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, calling Michael a "monstrous storm," advised people on Tuesday to get themselves out of its way.

"Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades," Scott said. "You cannot hide from storm surge."

However, on Wednesday morning Scott said it had become too late to leave, and so he then advised anyone left to shelter in place. He said Wednesday morning that Michael is the worst storm the Panhandle has seen in a century.

Scott tweeted: "The time to evacuate has come and gone ... SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY."

The National Hurricane Center's forecast track places the center of Michael as moving inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area Wednesday, then northeastward across the Southeast Wednesday night and Thursday.

The storm is expected to remain a hurricane as it moves over Georgia early Thursday, and it is expected to bring damaging wind and rain to the Carolinas, still recovering from Hurricane Florence flooding.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency for 92 counties, joining the Florida governor and Alabama's Gov. Kay Ivey in similar declarations for their states. Ivey this week issued a statewide state of emergency, saying on Twitter she did so "in anticipation of wide-spread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds & heavy rain associated with #HurricaneMichael."

Her declaration activated the state's emergency operations plan, according to the governor's office.

All content © 2018, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.  

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