Hurricane Michael, Forecast to Strengthen, Could Hit Florida Wednesday

Cristina Cross
October 11, 2018

Here's what First Coast residents should know about Hurricane Michael, which is expected to make landfall Wednesday. Parts of Florida's curvy Big Bend could see up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) of storm surge, while Michael also could dump up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain over some Panhandle communities as it moves inland, forecasters said.

Winds of that magnitude can inflict substantial damage to roofs and walls of even well-constructed homes, according to the National Weather Service.

In Cuba, it dropped more than 10 inches (27 centimeters) of rain in places, flooding fields, damaging roads, knocking out power and destroying some homes in the western province of Pinar del Rio. "Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes".

Fueled by warm tropical waters, Michael gained new strength by nightfall and could reach major hurricane status with winds topping 111 miles per hour before its anticipated landfall Wednesday on the Panhandle or Big Bend area of Florida, forecasters warn.

A tropical storm warning is now in effect for Alexander, Avery, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, and Rowan counties. A Category 1 hurricane has sustained winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour.

The Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale ranks hurricanes by their sustained wind speeds. Storms with winds of at least 111 miles per hour are designated as "major" hurricanes.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida Monday and Tuesday, but he said he would return to Tallahassee to help with storm preparations. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the storm's center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 kilometers).

Hurricane warnings are in effect in Florida from the Alabama border to the Suwannee River.

Hurricane Michael gained new strength Monday and is expected to keep growing stronger ahead of an expected midweek strike on Florida's Panhandle, forecasters said. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) from the core and tropical-storm-force winds out 195 miles (313.81 kilometers).

Michael's low central pressure - 919 millibars as of 2:00 p.m. ET - makes it the strongest storm to hit the USA since 1969.

What can we expect when Storm Callum hits Edinburgh?
A yellow warning for wind is in place for Northern Ireland from 3am on Friday morning until just before midnight on Friday night. It means southern parts of Wales especially are at risk of being flooded. "There could be localised flooding issues".

Michael is the seventh hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.

In a Monday morning briefing Gov. Rick Scott urged residents to pay careful attention to weather updates and warned that the quickly changing storm could trigger evacuations.

Scott said 500 Florida National Guard members were activated for planning, logistics and response, and 5,000 stood at the ready. Forecasters say the hurricane will also bring tropical storm conditions to parts of the Yucatan Peninsula, and predict the storm will take a relatively direct northerly route toward the Florida Panhandle.

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting storm surge between 7 and 11 feet in certain areas, Scott said Monday.

Scott declared a state of emergency in 35 Florida counties, mostly encompassing rural areas known for small tourist cities, beaches, wildlife reserves and Tallahassee, the state capital. The bloom has spread to Florida's Panhandle and the Miami area.

Florida State University campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City plan to close Tuesday through Friday.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency in her state, "in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael". Tropical storm warnings are posted for the Isle of Youth in Cuba and the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, including Cozumel.

The Florida Keys are expected to get 2 to 4 inches of rain, and the Yucatan Peninsula could get 1 to 2 inches of rain.

According to an alert published by the Cuban Civil Defense, meteorologists warned affected residents that they could experience hurricane-force winds.

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