Tropical Storm Michael, Heading North, Could Become Category 2 Hurricane

Lester Mason
October 11, 2018

Hurricane conditions are expected within the next 12 hours, according to the NHC.

After landfall, Michael is expected to weaken as it tracks quickly northeast, and the forecast track brings the center across southeast Georgia and southeast SC in the Wednesday night and Thursday time period.

There is a tropical storm watch for the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, where tropical storm conditions are possible Sunday and Monday.

When the storm moves ashore, it will probably be a Category 1 storm, with winds between 74-95 miles per hour, said Frank Strait, senior meteorologist for the private forecasting firm AccuWeather.

Michael was about 90 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico, and about 100 miles south-southwest off the western tip of Cuba, according to the center's 5 a.m. advisory.

However, Masson says despite the shorter time frame, Michael will still produce heavy amounts of rain.

With Hurricane Michael rapidly intensifying and threatening to smash Florida's Panhandle with risky storm surge, flooding and winds, Gov. Rick Scott didn't mince words on Monday night: "Making decisions tomorrow might be too late". "Storm surge can occur before, during, or after the center of a storm passes through an area". The rains in Cuba's west were expected to begin Sunday night and continue Monday.

The latest track now has Michael reaching major hurricane status as a category 3 hurricane prior to making landfall along the Florida gulf coast.

Forecasters expect Michael to be near or at major hurricane strength when it moves into the northeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday night and Wednesday. With this track, the Florida panhandle would get the highest impacts, including the Emerald Coast and Apalachicola, the Big Bend and up through the state capitol of Tallahassee. This could lead to life-threatening flash flooding in some areas.

The depression is moving toward the north near 3 miles per hour. Hurricane Watches have been issued for the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend area.

The governor warned that storm surge could affect areas of Florida not in the storm's direct path. Preparation for a potential hurricane landfall needs to be complete by Tuesday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles (45 km) from the center of the tropical cyclone and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).

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