Tropical Depression now Tropical Storm Michael

October 07, 2018 - 12:26 pm

Tropical Depression 14 has become Tropical Storm Michael.

The maximum winds are estimated to be 40 mph with higher gusts. An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is currently en route to investigate Michael.

The National Hurricane Center says the newly named Tropical Storm could strengthen to a hurricane as it heads to U.S.

Michael is expected to enter the Gulf late Sunday or Monday, and become a hurricane before making landfall along the Florida panhandle on Wednesday.

"Right now, the National Hurricane Center's forecast path keeps it east of Louisiana with a landfall around Destin, Florida on Wednesday," says WWL-TV meteorologist Chris Franklin. "We are not within the cone of error at this time."

"On the forecast track, the center will move through the Yucatan Channel Monday morning and then across the eastern Gulf of Mexico late Monday through Wednesday."

Forecast models are showing the storm will drift into the Gulf of Mexico by Monday, and  drifts north then northeast. 

The turn toward the north is expected late Sunday, with that motion at a faster forward speed continuing through early Wednesday.

The storm could become a hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday.

"We'll still have to track it, as there is still some uncertainty in the path and timing," Franklin says. "But right now it looks like the center will stay east of Louisiana with the strong winds and associated rain on the far eastern side.

So what should we expect in south Louisiana?
At this time it looks like:

- possibly higher than normal tides starting Tuesday due to sustained southeast/east winds, and

- some rain Tuesday and Wednesday of roughly 1-3 inches for southeast Louisiana. Higher amounts of 3-6 inches are possible toward the Florida panhandle.

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