'Monstrous' Hurricane Michael forecast to hit Gulf Coast as a major hurricane

09 October, 2018, 05:15 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Tropical Storm Michael, Heading North, Could Become Category 2 Hurricane

Tropical Storm Michael is now east of the Yucatan Peninsula and expected to strengthen to a hurricane before making landfall around the Florida panhandle.

The forecast indicates Michael may be a Category 3 hurricane - with winds from 111 to 129 miles per hour - when it strikes.

At 2 p.m. ET, Michael was centered about 145 miles northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and 20 miles southwest of the western tip of Cuba Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.

"Heavy rainfall from Michael could produce life-threatening flash flooding from the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region into portions of the Carolinas through Thursday", the hurricane center said.

As of Monday morning, the storm passed close to the Yucatan Peninsula with maximum sustained winds around 75 miles per hour. The risk of life-threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall, and unsafe winds are increasing for the northeastern Gulf Coast. The Florida Panhandle and Big Bend area stretching into Georgia and SC could see four to eight inches of rain, with some areas as high as 12 inches.

Late Sunday, Gillum's campaign announced he scrapped campaign stops planned Monday and Tuesday in South Florida to return to Tallahassee to "focus on preparing the city of Tallahassee and residents" for the storm. The category one hurricane is expected to affect parts of the state later this week.

Escambia through Franklin counties in Northwest Florida are included in the hurricane watch.

The latest track shows a weakening Michael moving either directly through, or at least near central Georgia as a tropical storm.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for. While it remains unclear where Hurricane Michael will hit, Wool said it would be more powerful than other storms that have damaged the eastern Panhandle and Big Bend. HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND -------- WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area by this evening or tonight, making outside preparations hard or risky.

Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 Florida counties from the Panhandle to Tampa Bay, activated hundreds of Florida National Guard members and waived tolls to encourage those near the coast to evacuate inland.

Hurricane conditions have spread over portions of western Cuba this afternoon, where a hurricane warning is now in effect. A Tropical Storm Watch covered the area from Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, which includes Tampa Bay.

Michael, moving toward the US Gulf Coast, is now a Category 1 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said.

Lowe's Home Improvement in Fort Walton Beach, according to Service Manager Jay Hildebrand, ran out of generators and water by 3 p.m. Hildebrand said the store was expecting an emergency shipment by Monday night. Michael is expected to produce 1-3 inches of rain, with higher totals possible in some areas.

An Air Force hurricane hunter airplane was sent into the storm to investigate, the hurricane center said. It became a tropical storm a littler after noon on Sunday; less than 24 hours later, it was a hurricane.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency order Monday after concerns of severe weather and possible damages were raised. Rainfall is a lesser threat due to the storm's progressive movement to the north. Outer bands from the storm are also expected to bring roughly 100 mm of rain to the Florida Keys through Tuesday.


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