Tropical Storm Michael expected to slam into Florida as hurricane

08 October, 2018, 18:55 | Author: Carlos George
  • Tropical Storm Michael Will Become a Hurricane Monday

The National Hurricane Center in Miami is tracking Tropical Storm Michael, which formed from a tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea on Sunday.

It is expected that Michael, now centered about 90 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico, will dump four to eight inches of rain, with totals reaching more than 12 inches in isolated areas, potentially causing "life-threatening" flash floods and mudslides, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm quickly strengthened into a powerful tropical storm earlier Monday morning, and by 11 a.m. its maximum sustained winds had reached the 75 miles per hour hurricane threshold. On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move northward near the western tip of Cuba this afternoon and into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by tonight. It is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane by Monday night or Tuesday as its center moves over the Yucatan Channel, crosses the Gulf of Mexico and nears the Florida Panhandle coast sometime Wednesday.

The storm is projected to hit somewhere in Florida on Wednesday or early Thursday.

Since the storm will spend two to three days over the Gulf, "there is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall", Berg wrote.

Rick Scott has issued an order for a state of emergency for 26 counties to rush preparations in the Florida Panhandle and the Big Bend area, freeing up resources and activating 500 members of the Florida National Guard.

A Hurricane Watch has been issued from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to the Suwanee River. Tropical storm watches extend farther south through the Tampa Bay area to Anna Maria Island and, to the west, along the Alabama coast. It has also been warned that isolated tornadoes could develop in the Florida Panhandle and southern Georgia.

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A Hurricane Warning is in effect for western Cuba.

A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from Navarre, Florida, to Anna Maria Island, Florida, including Tampa Bay.

Ken Graham says the storm's large size, strong winds and heavy rains could produce a lot of flooding, and the shape of this stretch of coastline makes it particularly vulnerable to storm surge.

Scott warned that Michael could reach land as a Category 2 hurricane, with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe", Scott said Sunday after receiving a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center. "This storm has the potential to bring devastating impacts to communities across the Panhandle and Big Bend and every family must be prepared", he noted.

In light of the storm, Florida Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum suspended his campaign activity to address preparations for the storm, according to CNN.

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