ENVIRONMENT

Updated at 5:30 a.m. ET Thursday

Tropical Storm Michael is weakening as it churns across south-central Georgia.

On Wednesday, Michael was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the continental U.S. in more than a quarter-century, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET Wednesday

Hurricane Michael has grown into a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds reaching 130 mph, as it barrels toward northwestern Florida, making it a much stronger storm than Hurricane Florence was when it made landfall as a Category 1 storm drenching the Carolinas last month, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Updated at 11:55 p.m. ET

Hurricane Michael is expected to strengthen rapidly over the next 24 to 36 hours and will be "a dangerous major hurricane when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast on Wednesday," the National Hurricane Center says.

The storm achieved hurricane status with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph Monday morning, triggering warnings of a life-threatening storm surge that could hit the Florida Gulf Coast. Later in the day, its sustained winds topped 90 mph, with stronger gusts.

The Connecticut River seen in Sunderland, Massachusetts.
Tom Walsh / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/wmass

Thousands of volunteers helped collect an estimated 50 tons of trash from the Connecticut River and its tributaries in four states last week.

Solar batteries are on steel platforms near the solar energy farm at the site of the old Mount Tom power plant.
Screen Shot from video by Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

The site of the old Mount Tom coal-burning power plant in Holyoke, Massachusetts, is now home to batteries to store solar energy.

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