First Alert Weather: Major hurricane Michael could get stronger before landfall

SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) -  Michael is a rapidly intensifying hurricane.  The pressure drop in the past two hours has been extreme according to the Hurricane hunters.

As of 8 p.m. the storm has winds up to 125 mph and further strengthening is possible through Wednesday morning.  The winds are gusting to 155 mph.

This is will cause extensive damage in the Panhandle of Florida as it makes landfall during the early afternoon hours on Wednesday near Panama City Florida.

The storm surge is expected to be 12-14 feet high near and to the right of the center of the storm.  This is going to be a very destructive storm due the nature of the coast line in the Big Bend region of Florida.  The water will just pile up in advance of the landfall.

Tallahassee is also going to be dealing with hurricane force winds Wednesday afternoon.  The center is expected to pass just to the West of the states capital.  Tallahassee should be on the right side of the storm which is usually the strongest and will likely see widespread power outages.

For the Suncoast we will continue to see another round of some minor coastal flooding due to an extreme high tide after 1 a.m. on Wednesday and then again on Weds. afternoon around 2 p.m.

Look for periods of showers and thunderstorms with the potential of 40-50 mph winds through Wednesday morning.  There is a small chance that one or two of the storms could produce a small brief tornado.

Rainfall amount will be in the 1-2" range with some higher isolated amounts.

The storms will be moving quickly to the NNW at 30 mph.  You may not get much warning with these cells develop quickly.

A coastal flood watch remains in effect for area beaches.  A high risk of rip currents will be around through Thursday morning.

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