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Michael hits Gulf Coast has Category 4 hurricane

Although the bulk of Hurricane Michael’s wrath went to the east of Butler County, the effects were felt yesterday into the evening.

Michael made landfall Wednesday evening near Panama City, Fla. with sustained winds of 135 miles per hour. High winds are expected in Butler County as well.

According to the National Weather Service, the Butler County area should expect 15 to 20 mph sustained winds with an inch and a half of rain, and wind gusts as high as 50 mph.

Butler County Emergency Management Agency Director Kris Ware said preparations have been made in case winds cause large amounts of damage.

“This storm is going to move quickly, which is a good thing,” she said. “We’re not expecting a ton of rain, but the winds will be high. We’ve already had a lot of rain these last few months. The ground is saturated and could cause trees to fall.”

The main concern with falling trees is widespread power outages, according to Ware. A large amount of the Butler County area is covered by Pioneer Electric. Casey Rogers, with Pioneer, said power outages are being monitored closely.

“Right now, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be too bad for us,” she said. “Of course, we all know how these storms can change. So, we’re preparing for whatever may happen. It is a good thing that this storm is moving fast. When we have slow moving storm with lots of rain, and wind is when we have the most power outages.”

Cooler temperatures are expected to move into the Butler County over the weekend. Most forecasts show sunny weather for the entirety of the weekend.