Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

Strengthening Hurricane Michael aiming for Florida Panhandle

Strengthening Hurricane Michael aiming for Florida Panhandle

The National Hurricane Center warned that Michael could make landfall Wednesday afternoon near Panama City, 100 miles west of Tallahassee, as a Category 3 storm with torrential rains and sustained winds of up to 120 mph.

With the storm next entering the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico, which has warm water and favorable atmospheric conditions, "there is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall", Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the Miami-based storm forecasting hub, wrote in an advisory.

"Hurricane Michael is forecast to be the most destructive storm to hit the Florida Panhandle in decades", Scott said.

While wind is unlikely, moisture from Michael will be infused into a passing front.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect from the Okaloosa/Walton County line to Anclote River, Florida. But despite that, Michael has the potential to become a major hurricane, possibly a Category 3. The storm was centered about 30 miles (48 kilometers) off the western tip of Cuba, and about 520 miles (840 kilometers) south of Apalachicola.

The hurricane forced Benny and Cindy Guinn to get married a day earlier.

The storm's winds have increased to about 130 miles per hour with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center said.

Mr Scott warned that he may order more evacuations due to the size of the potential storm surge.

"Michael could develop into a potentially catastrophic event for the northeastern Gulf Coast", the National Weather Service office in Tallahassee, Fla., said Monday.

Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 26 counties as Tropical Storm Michael gathers strength in the Caribbean and barrels toward the Florida Panhandle.

President Trump has approved Florida's declaration of emergency. "It looks like another big one", he added.

"Folks are ready from the government side, but we need citizens to also be ready", said Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic candidate for governor in next month's election. About 1,250 National Guard soldiers were aiding the process and more than 4,000 troops placed on standby, Scott tweeted.

The NHC says some coastal regions can expect 8 to 12 feet of storm surge - a flood or tsunami-like phenomenon of rising water after rainfall. But the surging seawater could also create perilous problems far from the coast, raising rivers and bays to risky levels as it pushes as much as 10 to 15 miles inland.

"The storm surge is absolutely deadly".

"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.

A number mandatory evacuations have been ordered in Florida counties ahead of Michael.

"Think about what we've seen before with storms like Hurricane Irma", he said. The storm was implicated in the deaths of 80 Floridians, according to the Associated Press - including residents at a nursing home. Residents also lined up to buy gas and groceries even as evacuations - both voluntary and mandatory - were expected to pick up the pace Tuesday.

At least 57,000 coastal homes, as well as high-rise condos and businesses, will be at risk from the landfall of Hurricane Michael. As far away as Tampa, you could see areas of two to four feet.

Forecasters said some regions of the USA may see 30cm of rain, and storm surges of up to 3.6m.

Like this: