Evolving storm Michael expected to slam Florida as hurricane

Katie Ramirez
October 9, 2018

Florida was warned Monday to plan for "life-threatening" flash flooding as Michael heads for the US Gulf Coast, where it is expected to make landfall midweek as a major Category 3 hurricane.

On Monday morning, the National Weather Service issued a storm surge watch from Navarre to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay.

The tropical storm watch stretches from Anna Maria Island to the Suwanee River.

The storm was located by 2 a.m. ET Monday about 105 miles (170 kilometers) east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and moving to the north at about 4 mph (6 kph).

Florida Panhandle and Big Bend into the Carolinas: 4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches.

Although few forecast models were predicting it would reach major hurricane status at the time, it seemed possible given that the storm was now moving away from the Yucatan Peninsula landmass and toward warmer waters in the southern Gulf of Mexico, where it will encounter lower overall wind shear.

Scott also activated 500 members of the Florida National Guard ahead of the storm.

"A northward motion at a slightly faster forward speed is expected through Tuesday night, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday", the NHC said in its Monday morning advisory.

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Storms can force the tide in or out, which means possible flooding, but a recent dry spell locally means the ground can withstand more rainfall, Orrock said.

Scott warned that Michael could reach land as a Category 2 hurricane, with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour.

The number of counties under a state of emergency has grown to 36.

Worry over Hurricane Michael has also postponed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission's highly anticipated hearings into the high school massacre scheduled for this week, as many of those on the commission live in the panhandle.

Hurricane Michael is intensifying now in the Gulf of Mexico, but its impact on eastern Virginia is still uncertain. "We're going to get storm surge, we have wind, we have a chance of flooding, we have a significant chance of tornadoes". "Don't take a chance", he said. The storm is moving north at about 7 miles per hour, and is expected to pick up speed over the next few days.

Tallahassee's Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is campaigning to succeed Scott as governor in next month's elections, suspended his campaign and returned to the state capital to oversee storm preparations.

It's the 14th storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.

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

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