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Hurricane Michael is expected to hit the Florida panhandle as a major storm on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 10) — and U.S. weather satellites are busy watching the storm to help meteorologists keep people safe.

Particularly important are the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, or GOES, which are jointly run by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.

As of Tuesday morning (Oct. 9), Michael is a Category 2 storm, with sustained wind speeds of almost 100 mph (155 km/h), according to NOAA. The storm is strengthening as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico, and the hurricane is predicted to be a major storm when it hits the Florida panhandle on Wednesday.

Then, as the storm crosses over the Southeast U.S. on Wednesday evening and Thursday, it will weaken. By Friday (Oct. 12), the storm will make its way out over the northern Atlantic, NOAA is currently predicting.

If you live in the region Hurricane Michael will be passing through, you can check the latest forecasts and warnings at NOAA's National Hurricane Center.

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her @meghanbartels. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.