Tropical Storm Michael nears hurricane strength as Florida prepares

11 October, 2018, 03:17 | Author: Myra Gill
  • A Tropical Depression Expected to Form in the Northwestern Caribbean Sea Tonight or Sunday, Heavy Rains Heading For Western Cuba

Hurricane and tropical storm warnings are in effect for parts of Cuba and Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, past which the storm is expected to track, while watches are in effect for much of Florida's Gulf coast, as well as Alabama. It's expected to speed up slightly through Tuesday night as it passes between Mexico and Cuba, before tacking northeast on Wednesday and Thursday.

Tropics: Tropical Storm Michael was named on Sunday and is set to travel into the Gulf over the next couple of days.

On Monday at 5 a.m., the National Hurricane Center issued the Tropical Storm Watch from the Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay. Hurricane conditions are expected within the next 12 hours, according to the NHC.

Before Michael hits the United States, it's expected to dump 3 to 7 inches of rain on western Cuba.

Right now, the National Hurricane Center predicts a landfall along the Florida panhandle on Wednesday. Rain should arrive Wednesday and last until late Thursday night.

"We are alarmed, to put it mildly, by how it has established an intense core (with a large area of very high cloud tops, indicating strong convection) near the circulation center in the teeth of brisk westerly wind shear", said Truchelut. The hurricane center said the storm could produce rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches across the Florida Keys through Monday and could become a hurricane by Monday night or Tuesday.


Michael's trek to Florida is also affecting politics in the state.

In its most recent advisory Monday, the Hurricane Center upgraded Michael from a tropical storm when maximum sustained winds were recorded at 75 miles per hour with higher gusts. The storm has increased from winds of 35 miles per hour on Sunday to 75 miles per hour by late Monday morning. It was moving north around 7 miles per hour.

On Sunday, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 26 counties in North Florida and around the big Bend, to establish time, resources and flexibility for government agencies to prepare for the storm.

The storm center was located about 90 miles south of Cozumel, Mexico, or 225 miles southwest of the western tip of Cuba. In many of these areas this rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods.

The Florida panhandle will be hardest hit, with parts of the Tallahassee and Panama City areas getting 12 inches of rainfall along with damaging winds.

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