Hurricane Michael getting stronger in the Gulf

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
October 08, 2018 - 10:23 pm

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Michael continues to gain strength in the Gulf of Mexico.

"On the forecast track, the center of Michael will continue to move over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico tonight, then move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday and Tuesday night," according to the 10:00pm advisory.

Federal forecasters say Florida needs to brace for a major hurricane.

"The center of Michael is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday."

As of 10:00pm, Michael was a category one hurricane, but forecast to become a category three before landfall.

"Reports from the two reconnaissance aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 90 mph (150 km/h) with higher gusts. Steady to rapid strengthening is forecast during the next day or so, and Michael is expected to become a major hurricane by Tuesday night."

The Hurricane Center says top winds could be 120 miles per hour before landfall.

Here are the forecast impacts:

STORM SURGE:  The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the
tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by
rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water has the
potential to reach the following heights above ground if peak surge
occurs at the time of high tide...

Indian Pass FL to Cedar Key FL...8-12 ft
Cedar Key FL to Crystal River FL...6-8 ft
Okaloosa/Walton County Line FL to Indian Pass FL...6-9 ft
Crystal River FL to Anclote River FL...4-6 ft
Anclote River to Anna Maria Island FL including Tampa Bay...2-4 ft
Alabama/Florida border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line FL...2-4 ft

WIND:  Hurricane conditions will continue over portions of the far
western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio through this evening.
Tropical storm conditions are expected across the remainder of the
warning areas in Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula through tonight.

Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning
area along the U.S. Gulf Coast by Wednesday, with tropical storm
conditions expected by Tuesday night or early Wednesday.  Tropical
storm conditions are expected in the tropical storm warning area by
Tuesday night or early Wednesday, and are possible within the
tropical storm watch area by that time.  Hurricane conditions
are possible within the hurricane watch area by Wednesday.

RAINFALL:  Michael is expected to produce the following rainfall
amounts through Friday...

Western Cuba...4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12
inches. This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods
and mudslides.

Florida Panhandle and Big Bend, southeast Alabama, Georgia and South
Carolina... 4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12
inches. This rainfall could lead to life threatening flash floods.

Florida Peninsula, Florida Keys, North Carolina, portions of the
Mid-Atlantic States, and the southern New England coast...2 to 4
inches with isolated maximum amounts of 6 inches. This rainfall
could lead to life-threatening flash floods.

Yucatan Peninsula...Additional rainfall less than 1 inch.

SURF:  Swells generated by Michael are affecting the south coast of
Cuba and the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Swells are
expected to begin affecting the coast of the eastern and northern
Gulf of Mexico during the next day or so. These swells are likely
to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please
consult products from your local weather office.

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