Tropical Storm Michael almost a hurricane, expected to hit Florida

Cheryl Sanders
October 8, 2018

A storm is designated a Category 1 hurricane if it reaches speeds of 74 miles per hour (119 kph) or more, and a Category 3 hurricane at 111 miles per hour (178 kph) or more on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.

Through Wednesday, the zone of greatest concern spans the Florida Panhandle from Pensacola to Apalachicola, including Destin and Panama City Beach, and the Big Bend area to its east. The Hurricane Center also issued a Storm Surge Watch from Navarre, in the Florida Panhandle, to Anna Maria Island. Tropical storm watches extend farther south through the Tampa Bay area to Anna Maria Island and, to the west, along the Alabama coast. "We can rebuild your home, but we cannot rebuild your life".

An Air Force hurricane hunter airplane was sent into the storm to investigate, the hurricane centre said. "We're going to get storm surge, we have wind, we have a chance of flooding, we have a significant chance of tornadoes". For storm information specific to your area outside the United States, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service.DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK -- At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Michael was located near latitude 21.2 North, longitude 84.9 West. Michael is moving toward the north near 7 miles per hour (11 km/h).

Tropical storm watches are in effect from from the Alabama/Florida line to the Alabama/Mississippi line and from the Suwannee River to Tampa Bay.

A hurricane watch has been declared for the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida. High tides are extra high this week because of the New Moon on Tuesday.

Michael is the 13th named storm of the 2018 hurricane season. Right now, that would be the worst-case scenario with the current forecast.

"A northward motion at a slightly faster forward speed is expected through Tuesday night, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday", the NHC said in its Monday morning advisory.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Leslie is hanging around in the middle of the Atlantic. This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.Florida Panhandle and Big Bend into the Carolinas.4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches.

Tropical Storm Leslie - which formed on September 23 - is still active and probably will be through the weekend. The National Hurricane Center is giving it a 50 percent chance of reaching tropical depression status this week, but no models suggest that this will become a threat to land.

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