Hurricane Michael takes aim at Florida after fatal flooding in Central America

Lamar Ellis
October 10, 2018

Additional strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days.

The NHC also added in its advisory that Michael is likely to turn into a hurricane by Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

Fueled by warm tropical waters, fast-strengthening Michael could gain 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.

Michael was not expected to strengthen this quickly but an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft made several passes through the system overnight, according to the National Hurricane Center, and "somewhat surprisingly" found that the storm has become better organized and increased in intensity. On the forecast track, the low or the tropical cyclone should move across the Yucatan channel near the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula through tonight, and then move into the southern Gulf of Mexico on Monday.

As of 8 a.m. EDT Monday, the storm was centered about 120 miles east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and moving to the north at about 7 mph.

As forecast, Michael would be the first Category 3 or higher hurricane to hit the Panhandle since Hurricane Dennis in 2005.

Governor Scott will be traveling to Tallahassee today to receive a briefing from federal, state and local emergency management officials at the State Emergency Operation Center at 5:00 p.m.

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Storm surges just east of where the center makes landfall could reach eight to 12 feet if the storm comes ashore around high tide. Widespread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain are possible.

On Monday, Michael will emerge over the Gulf of Mexico, where computer model forecasts predict that it will steadily intensify.

Ahead of Tropical Depression 14's predicted path toward Florida, Gov. Rick Scott announced Sunday he will declare a state of emergency for areas in Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend. Michael is expected to intensify further as it moves into the gulf and finally making landfall along the Florida Coast potentially as a Category 2 Hurricane on Wednesday. The storm is moving to the due north at 7 miles per hour.

For DC, although the current track keeps the center of Michael southeast of our area, it will still influence our weather.

Storm and storm surge watches were issued for the Gulf Coast from the Mississippi-Alabama border to Chassahowitzka, Florida, north of Tampa Bay.

Florida's capital city of Tallahassee, which is in the Panhandle, opened two locations Sunday where residents could get sandbags to prepare for flooding. Isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible in western Cuba.

In neighboring Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey signed an emergency declaration for her entire state Monday in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and heavy rain from the storm getting set to cross the eastern Gulf of Mexico in coming hours.

Chris Holcomb and the 11Alive Storm Trackers team will have full coverage all week of Tropical Hurricane Michael and bring you full details on what sort of effects it will have on our weather in and across the state of Georgia.

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