Science

Forecasters: Michael quickly closing in on Category 3 hurricane

Forecasters: Michael quickly closing in on Category 3 hurricane”

Michael underwent a period of "rapid intensification" from mid-day Sunday to mid-day Monday, growing from a tropical storm with sustained winds of 40 miles per hour to a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

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

Hurricane warnings are in effect from the Alabama/Florida state line to the Suwanee River along Florida's Big Bend.

A tropical storm watch is in effect along the southeastern coast of the USA from Fernandina Beach, FL, to South Santee River, SC, the Chassahowitzka River to Anna Maria Island in Florida, including Tampa Bay, and the Mississippi-Alabama border to the mouth of the Pearl River.

"Monstrous" Hurricane Michael bore down on northwestern Florida on Tuesday and was expected to strengthen into a powerful Category 3 storm before hitting land on Wednesday, triggering risky coastal flooding and bringing high winds and torrential rains.

Rainfall could lead to flash flooding in Florida's panhandle and Big Bend regions, as well as in the Carolinas, through Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

"Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area along the U.S. Gulf Coast by Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions expected by tonight or early Wednesday".

The Florida Peninsula, eastern mid Atlantic and southern New England coast could see as much as 3 inches of rain. Severe storm surge is a possibility over a large portion of the Florida panhandle, with the highest surge expected to the right of the storm's track. Storm surge rises rapidly Wednesday morning and afternoon.

The couple were supposed to get hitched Wednesday in Florida's Panama City Beach, but Michael's approach forced mandatory evacuations there.

NWS forecasters also warned of a high rip current risk along the Grand Strand Tuesday.

He said: "If you decide to stay in your home and a tree falls on your house or the storm surge catches you and you're now calling for help, there's no one that can respond to help you".

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky", Scott said on Sunday.

Michael will likely be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the Florida Panhandle on record.

"Residents in these areas should follow advice given by local officials".

"We are running out of time", Scott said in a post on Twitter.

In Florida, Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 counties, from the Panhandle to Tampa Bay, activated hundreds of Florida National Guard members and waived tolls to encourage evacuations.

In the small Panhandle city of Apalachicola, Mayor Van Johnson Sr. said the 2,300 residents are frantically preparing for a major hurricane strike that could be unlike any seen there in decades. Plenty of water. I made sure we've got clean clothes. The latest European model shows the storm intensifying - possibly to a Category 3 - before it crests Florida's coast near Tallahassee.

The expected path for Hurricane Michael as of October 9, 2018.

Forecasters say Hurricane Michael will strengthen into a major hurricane by late Tuesday as it continues on a risky path towards the southeastern USA state of Florida.

In Panhandle counties, most state offices, schools and universities were closed for the rest of the week. Scott is urging people along the Gulf Coast to finish their storm preparations Monday evening. That's five times higher than runner-up Louisiana, which has experienced seven October hurricane hits, including three major hurricanes, according to National Hurricane Center records.

Late Monday, residents of far western Cuba were forecast to get up to eight inches of rain.



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