Hurricane Michael track: Storm grows stronger as it heads toward Florida Panhandle

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Michael is continuing to intensify and storm surge and hurricane warnings are in effect for the northeastern Gulf Coast.

By 11 p.m. Monday, Michael’s top sustained winds were around 90 mph as it headed north at 12 mph .

The National Hurricane Center says the storm is located about 450 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida. Hurricane-force winds extend out up to 35 miles and tropical-storm-force winds outward about 175 miles.

Forecasters say the center of Michael will continue to move over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico Monday night and then move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday into the evening.

The storm will weaken as it tracks toward North Carolina but will bring heavy rain on Wednesday and Thursday.

So, what does that mean for us?

Rain chances go up Wednesday and if the current speed holds up, but Thursday will be the wettest day of the week. This timing could change if the storm slows down.

That much rain could cause some problems as the ground is still rather wet, especially in the Sandhills.

Likely, the onset of the rain will infiltrate into the soil with no problem, but after an inch or so, runoff is possible.

The Weather Prediction Center has about 1-3” of rain falling across our area. This could cause flash flooding especially since the ground is still saturated from Florence.

Timing and rainfall amounts will be fine-tuned as we get closer to the event. Unfortunately, the first day of the North Carolina State Fair could be rather wet.

A sneak peek at the new foods coming to the North Carolina State Fair

Unicorn bacon, Crack-N-Cheese Waffle Cone, Shrimp & Cheddar Cheese Grits Eggroll, oh my!

The rain should clear out Friday morning as a cold front sweeps the storm out to sea.

After the storm moves past, much cooler and drier air moves in and it will finally feel like autumn!

Michael should move faster than Florence due to the jet stream.

Keep in mind with this storm being a few days out, timing and local impacts will change. These predictions are based on the current track of the storm.

(Copyright ©2018 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved – The Associated Press contributed to this report.)