Hurricane Michael Is Strengthening And Taking Aim At The Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael Is Strengthening And Taking Aim At The Florida Panhandle

Tropical Storm Michael is expected to become a hurricane on Monday and was on track to hit the Florida Panhandle midweek, with the potential to pack winds of at least 100 miles per hour (160 km per hour), the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Gov. Rick Scott issued an order for a state of emergency for 26 counties to rush preparations in the Florida Panhandle and the Big Bend area, freeing up resources and activating 500 members of the Florida National Guard ahead of Tropical Storm Michael.

A state of emergency was issued in Alabama on Monday as "dangerous" Hurricane Michael continues to barrel toward the us, with the potential to hit the Florida Panhandle mid-week.

Michael is now centered about 50 miles south of the western tip of Cuba and is moving north.

The storm was about 220 kilometres east-northwest of Cozumel, Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of winds of 120 kilometres per hour, forecasters said.

Tropical Storm Leslie is slated to strengthen later on October 8, the NHC said.

Once the storm moves onto land, it will start to slow down and will most likely be significantly weaker than it is now, Steve Pfaff, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, said.

A major hurricane is a Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane, which has winds of at least 111 miles per hour. "It is forecast to move very quickly and there would not be the rain like we had before". Hurricane watches are issued 48 hours before the arrival of tropical-storm-force winds, which is when outside preparations become unsafe.

"By tonight, a large trough centered over the southwestern United States will cause the hurricane to accelerate northeastward".

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Tallahassee City Commissioner Gil Ziffer warned that if the storm hits Florida's capital, there would be significant tree damage and power outages.

The governor warns that storm surge could be as high as 8-10 feet (2.4-3 meters) in some parts of the Panhandle and 2-4 feet (0.6-1.2 meters) in the Tampa Bay area.

Bay County District Schools will be closed Tuesday (10/9) and Wednesday (10/10).

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines issued its own travel waiver Monday afternoon for travelers passing through Mobile, Alabama; Fort Walton Beach, Florida; Panama City, Florida; Pensacola, Florida and Tallahassee, Florida Tuesday and Wednesday.

Storm surge watches as of Monday morning (left) and five-day rainfall forecast (right).

Previous year millions of customers across Florida were without power after Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Keys and then again in Collier County before crawling up the spine of the state.

Michael was lashing western Cuba on Monday with heavy rains and strong winds.

"The current track has it making landfall near the Florida panhandle and moving inland through Georgia, South Carolina and into North Carolina".

Michael will also carry with it some strong rainfall and is already pouring inches as it heads towards Florida.

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