Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Hurricane Michael takes aim at Florida, state of emergency

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Theresa Hayes | 10 October, 2018, 01:34

RMS looked at where hurricane Michael is due to make landfall and found that the most similar storms were Category 2 Kate in 1985, which is estimated to have caused around a $1 billion insurance and reinsurance market loss, or Category 3 Eloise in 1975 which is estimated to have resulted in a $3.6 billion insurance and reinsurance industry loss.

By 11 a.m., Michael had winds of 110 miles per hour, just below a major Category 3 hurricane, and was getting stronger, drawing energy from Gulf waters with temperatures in the mid-80s.

Michael gained new strength over warm tropical waters amid fears it would swiftly intensify into a major hurricane before striking Florida's northeast Gulf Coast, where frantic coastal dwellers are boarding up homes and seeking evacuation routes away from the risky storm heading their way.

Hurricane warnings were posted from the Alabama border to the Suwannee River.

Hurricane Michael, now churning in the Gulf of Mexico with winds up to 100 miles per hour, is expected to weaken to a tropical storm by the time it arrives in North Carolina starting late Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

The hurricane center is already warning of storm surge up to 12 feet in some areas, plus heavy rainfall through Florida's Panhandle and into Alabama, Georgia and SC, and "tropical storm"-force winds".

A hurricane warning was up across the Florida panhandle, a low-lying area of beachfront resort and retirement communities on north-eastern Gulf coast. The D.C. area should get a total of maybe an inch, with perhaps two inches falling in Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore. Storm surge could be life-threatening, the winds will be destructive, and power outages will last for days or even weeks in the hardest-hit locations.

The storm's effects will be felt far from the eye of the hurricane.

As for airlines, United has announced the cancellation of all flights to and from those three airports from now through Wednesday afternoon with travel waivers in effect for several other airports in the region.

Governor Rick Scott warned residents to get out of the way, saying on Tuesday: "This is a monstrous storm".

"For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life". "This storm will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe".

The clockwise churn of an area of high pressure centered over DE is what's keeping Michael on a more northerly path toward the Panhandle and away from South Florida, said AccuWeather senior hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski.

"You haven't got anywhere to go (if the bridges close)", he said Tuesday morning.

He noted that residents in the nearby coastal county of Wakulla were being forced to keep their shelters shut because they aren't built to withstand severe winds that may come with Hurricane Michael. "There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water' and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts".

It should be stressed that these figures aren't estimates of losses for hurricane Michael, rather simulated estimates for older storms in the same area that factor in today's exposure levels.

Besides the risky storm surge, residents should also prepare for torrential rain and major flooding, Scott said, with 4 to 8 inches of rain expected and even 12 inches possible in some areas.

Florida State University has closed through Friday and the Pensacola International Airport is set to close Wednesday. A warning for the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, was canceled late Monday.

Heavy rain at the weekend caused 13 deaths in Central America after Michael formed off the coast of northern Honduras.

For now, Lauzau is trying to plan ahead, making sure they have enough water, food and sandbags.