Saturday, 17 November, 2018


Tropical Storm Michael: Storm Could Strengthen Into Category 2 Hurricane

This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a view of Tropical Storm Michael lower right churning as it heads toward the Florida Panhandle Tropical Storm Michael: Storm Could Strengthen Into Category 2 Hurricane
Bennie Garza | 09 October, 2018, 05:14

Commercial boats leave the Destin Harbor in Destin, Fla., on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.

A major hurricane is a Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane, which has winds of at least 111 miles per hour.

Michael became a hurricane over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico this morning and is expected to strengthen before striking the Florida Panhandle, perhaps as a risky Category 2 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A tropical weather system that rapidly strengthened into Hurricane Michael on Monday is likely to keep growing stronger ahead of an expected strike on Florida's Panhandle by midweek, forecasters said. A hurricane watch is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to the Suwanee River, and tropical storm watches have been issued from the Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island and from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday declared a state of emergency for the entire state as the storm pushes its way toward the southern U.S.

"My expectation is if you're responsible for a patient, you're responsible for the patient. So my expectation is everybody gets taken care of". "We can rebuild your home, but we cannot rebuild your life", Florida Governor Rick Scott tweeted on Monday. Elsewhere, outer rain bands from Michael are expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches across the Florida Keys through Tuesday. A bulletin from the National Hurricane Centre in Miami said the centre of Michael was passing the western tip of Cuba yesterday.

Michael has the potential to be the strongest storm in the region since Hurricane Eloise swept across Bay County in September 1975 with 110 miles per hour winds.

High winds weren't the only danger.

Even neighbors in Alabama were bracing. Maximum sustained winds are near 40 miles per hour (65 km/h) with higher gusts.

The storm was centred about 30 miles (48 kilometres) off the western tip of Cuba, and about 520 miles (837 kilometres) south of Apalachicola.

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

"#Michael could produce three life-threatening hazards along portions of the northeastern Gulf Coast: storm surge, heavy rainfall, and hurricane-force winds, with storm surge and hurricane watches in effect", the NHC said on Twitter. A couple breweries in the city offered free filtered water to anyone bringing in growlers, jugs or other containers.

Florida State University campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City plan to close Tuesday through Friday.

Gillum's mayoral office separately sent out a release that said he "reached out to Governor Scott with an update on the city's efforts".

He urged residents to quickly wrap up their final storm preparations Monday, calling Michael a "monstrous storm" with great destructive potential.

The combination of gusty winds and saturated ground is a formula that could result in downed trees and power outages.

"This will be nothing like Florence and nothing like Matthew that hit two years ago today", Hohenstein wrote Monday. Ann Beaver was among the three-quarters of city residents who lost power after that storm.

"I don't want to lose everything in the freezer, but it is what is", said Beaver as she loaded sandbags into her family's pickup truck.

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