Hurricane Michael Weakens To A Category 3 As It Speeds Toward Georgia

Chris White | Energy Reporter

Hurricane Michael weakened Wednesday evening to a Category 3 hurricane as the storm veers northeast toward Georgia, according to local reports.

The storm hit Florida Wednesday afternoon at Category 4 status before weakening — the wind gusts have fallen from 155 mph to 125 mph. Michael’s outer bands are moving into Georgia, spawning at least one possible tornado.

Michael will bring the threat of severe storms and rain into parts of metro Atlanta Thursday. Parts of southwest Georgia will also begin feeling the effects of the storm as early as this evening. The storm has already shattered long-standing records.

Nine major hurricanes have made landfall on the Florida Panhandle since 1851, meteorologist Philip Klotzbach wrote on Twitter. Only seven hurricanes that have hit Florida had a lower central pressure reading than Michael, according to Klotzbach. Michael is expected to weaken and head northeast, dumping rain as it goes.

Michael is expected to become one of the most intense hurricanes to make landfall in U.S. history behind only Hurricane Camille in 1969 and the Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. (RELATED: Michael Is Expected To Be Third-Most Intense Hurricane In US History)

That feat was accomplished when Michael hit an estimated minimum central pressure of 919 millibars upon arriving, which surpassed Katrina at 920 mb in 2005, according to reports Wednesday from the National Weather Service.

Only Camille and the Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane, both of which were Category 5 hurricanes, had lower central pressure landfall. The lower the pressure, the more intense the hurricane — central pressure is but one of the metrics used to determine a storm’s intensity.

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