Hurricane Michael European Model Shows Storm Intensifying

Cheryl Sanders
October 10, 2018

Fueled by warm tropical waters, fast-strengthening Michael could gain major hurricane status with winds topping 111 miles per hour (179 kph) before its anticipated landfall Wednesday on the Panhandle or Big Bend area of Florida, forecasters warn.

The Florida Disaster website on October 9 said that parts or all of Bay County, Citrus County, Franklin County, Dixie County, Gulf County, Jackson County, Levy County, Okaloosa County, Taylor County, Wakulla County, and Walton County have been issued mandatory evacuation orders.

Residents of Florida's Panhandle frantically filled sandbags, boarded up homes and secured boats Monday as they anxiously awaited Hurricane Michael, which forecasters warned could smash into the state's Gulf Coast as a unsafe major hurricane within days.

Forecasters said the hurricane could also bring 3 to 6 inches of rain to Georgia, North and South Carolinas and Virginia, triggering flash flooding in areas still recovering from Florence.

Besides the unsafe storm surge, residents should also prepare for torrential rain and major flooding, Scott said, with 4 to 8 inches of rain expected and even 12 inches possible in some areas.

In all likelihood, destruction on that scale won't happen, but the most recent major storm, Hurricane Florence, caused $38 billion of damage, mostly in North Carolina and extended into SC and Virginia.

"I am concerned about the cone of uncertainty as Hurricane Michael is leaning west today", Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings said in a statement Monday.

Hurricane Michael is coming. If Michael's core comes ashore as a Category 2 or higher, it would be the strongest storm in terms of wind speed to make landfall in the country this year. That's just below the threshold for a "major" hurricane, and forecasters say they still expect Michael to get stronger.

If Michael is a Category 2 storm, it will bring winds of 96 to 110 miles per hour and can be expected to produce extensive property damage.

A hurricane warning is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River. He specifically pointed to forecasts of 8-12 feet of storm surge that could reach miles in from shore.

Hurricane Michael intensified into a major, Category 3 hurricane Tuesday afternoon, its peak winds climbing to 120 miles per hour.

There is also a large ridge of high pressure off the southeastern US coast, and this feature is pushing Michael toward the northwest.

"This storm can kill you", Scott said.

As rains from the powerful storm started to reach the Panhandle on Tuesday afternoon, about 15,000 workers lined up by Gulf Power, Duke Energy Florida, Florida Power & Light and public utilities have been positioned to respond to anticipated widespread outages.

As of the 8 p.m. advisory, Michael is a Category 3. That's when Maryland could see the first remnants of the storm.

He said: "We don't know if it's going to wipe out our house or not".

"Impacts from Hurricane Michael along the Florida Panhandle will include a unsafe storm surge, flooding rainfall and damaging winds".

Scott has declared a state of emergency in 35 counties in Florida.

"Because of the damage caused by Hurricane Florence, and the fact that there's still some standing water in places, we have to be that much more alert about the damage that Hurricane Matthew could do", Cooper said.

The declaration, requested by Scott, encompasses 35 counties and "will provide important resources and assistance from the federal government, including personnel, equipment and supplies, as well as making available funding sources for emergency protective measures", according to a news release from Scott's office.

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