Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Tropical Storm Michael, Heading North, Could Become Category 2 Hurricane

Melinda Barton | 10 October, 2018, 16:31

It's not uncommon for it to flood in St. Augustine during hurricanes and bad storms.

Florida's governor mobilized National Guard troops and ordered Gulf Coast residents to head inland or get ready to evacuate as Hurricane Michael churned toward shore on Monday, with the storm forecast to strengthen rapidly before making landfall on Wednesday.

As of Sunday afternoon, Tropical Storm Michael has developed in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Today's forecast for Palm Beach County includes a 20 to 30 percent chance of rain with highs in the upper 80s.

Then, wind shear will become weaker and Michael will become stronger.

Michael 14th named storm, and now the 7th hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season. It shows Michael becoming a hurricane in the Gulf by 1 a.m. Tuesday, reaching Florida about 1 p.m. Wednesday and moving across Georgia and into the Carolinas by 1 p.m. Thursday. But within a few hours it gained more strength and by Sunday evening, it had top sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). Steady to rapid strengthening is forecasted during the next day or so.

The region could see storm surge, rain and wind as early as late Tuesday, though forecasters noted the time frame of the storm is still in flux. Before reaching the Gulf of Mexico, the storm will bring a threat of flooding rain around the northwestern Caribbean.

The GFS weather model points towards a landfall closer to Alabama, while the ECMWF and other hurricane ensembles suggest a landfalling hurricane Michael further east in the Florida Panhandle. They said Michael could be the strongest hurricane to hit that stretch of coastline in 13 years.

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case within the next 36 hours.

Wind gusts in central North Carolina could reach 40 miles per hour. Plus, an area of high pressure just off the southeast United States coast will guide Michael around the periphery to the northeast into the Florida panhandle.

A hurricane watch is in effect along the Alabama-Florida border down to the Suwanee River. As a result the first warnings for storm surge have also been released.

Southern Georgia, along with parts of southeastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle could see rainfall amounts of 4-to-8 inches with isolated rainfall amounts of up to 12 inches.

After numerous attritional catastrophes around the globe in recent weeks, another landfalling hurricane would serve to perhaps underpin reinsurance rates somewhat at the next renewals. "It is critical that you take care of yourself, your family, and your business as Hurricane Michael approaches FL", Scott wrote on Twitter on Monday.

The NHC also added in its advisory that Michael is likely to turn into a hurricane by Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.