TALLAHASSEE, Florida — The chances of Thomasville avoiding Hurricane Michael appear to have disappeared, according to the latest forecast by the National Weather Service in Tallahassee.
"It certainly won't be just a straight-up miss," said Sean Luchs, meteorologist with the NWS. "At this point we're looking for more or less impact depending on where exactly it makes its landfall and where it goes to the northeast from there."
At 4 p.m. Tuesday, the hurricane was 300 miles south of Apalachicola, Fla. With maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, the storm is a relatively powerful category 2, and is expected to be upgraded to a category 3 by the time it makes landfall Wednesday.
The forecast leaves no opportunity for Thomasville to be out of the storm's path.
"It's not one of those things where we think it will go here but it might be hundreds of miles on either side of that," Luchs said.
For Thomasville residents, that means in the best-case scenario there will at least be tropical storm-force winds, with the possibility of hurricane-strength gusts.
"The more (the storm) can get over west before it starts to go north and hook back to the northeast as it comes through Florida and Georgia, the more it will mitigate the impact for Thomasville," Luchs said. "And on the flip side, if it were to drift a little more east in the current forecast track that would mean some higher wind and greater impact for the Thomasville area."
Maximum winds of the storm are expected to hit over Thomasville late Wednesday night and should settle down by Thursday morning.
"It should go through relatively quickly," Luchs said. "If you can hunker down through those overnight hours, once you get toward late morning on Thursday things should be starting to settle down."
Residents should take caution before leaving shelter, Luchs said, and should ensure the wind and rain have settled before walking outside.
Luchs emphasized that the time for residents to prepare for the storm is running out.
"(You should be doing) everything you can to complete your preparations as quickly as possible," Luchs said. "This storm is headed this way."