PANAMA CITY, Florida (AP) - The Latest on Hurricane Michael (all times Eastern):
Image Source: MSNBC / MGN
Forecasters said that Michael is weakening but still a hurricane with 75-mph winds as it crosses central Georgia.
The National Hurricane Center said Michael was located at 11 p.m. EDT Wednesday about 45 miles south-southwest of Macon, Georgia. The low-level Category 1 hurricane was picking up speed and moving to the northeast at 20 mph.
The Miami-based hurricane center said Michael will move across Georgia through the night and early Thursday morning. It is expected to then cross the Carolinas and move off the Mid-Atlantic coast by early Friday.
Forecasters said that Michael is expected to become a tropical storm sometime Thursday morning.
Michael made landfall Wednesday afternoon in the Florida Panhandle as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with at least one death reported there.
Hurricane Michael has begun weakening as it charges across southwestern Georgia with damaging winds and rains. It has dropped from a once formidable Category 4 to a bottom-tier Category 1 storm.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the eye of Michael was about 20 miles southwest of Albany, Georgia, at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday. It had top sustained winds of 90 mph and was moving to the northeast at 17 mph.
Forecasters said storm flooding is still occurring along the Florida Gulf Coast after Michael crashed ashore Wednesday afternoon as a fierce storm with 155 mph winds. The storm is expected to head to the northeast as it crosses south and central Georgia into the Carolinas in coming hours.
The National Weather Service has issued multiple tornado warnings in Georgia as Hurricane Michael pushed through the state, and local media report three of them may have touched down.
News media in Macon reported that by early evening Wednesday, tornadoes had touched down near Roberta, Perry, and Fort Valley in Georgia's midstate region.
Crawford County officials said a possible tornado damaged five homes near Roberta. The county's emergency management director told news media it touched down on Highway 128 and knocked down power lines and trees. No injuries were reported.
Weather officials had warned that the massive storm, which came ashore Wednesday afternoon in Florida's Panhandle region, could spawn tornadoes as it moves northeast.
Hurricane Michael has left extensive damage in Panama City, with broken and uprooted trees and power lines down nearly everywhere.
Roofs were peeled off and homes split open by fallen trees. Twisted street signs lay on the ground. Residents emerged early Wednesday evening to assess damage when rains stopped, though skies were still overcast and windy.
A pine tree punched a hole in the roof of the apartment where 29-year-old Vance Beu was staying with his mother. The roar of the storm sounded like a jet engine as the wind accelerated, and their ears popped as the pressure dropped.
Beu said, "It was terrifying, honestly. There was a lot of noise. We thought the windows were going to break at any time. We had the inside windows kind of barricaded in with mattresses. We did whatever we could to kind of hunker down."