Michael expected to gain hurricane strength as it approaches Florida

Clay Curtis
October 10, 2018

"Michael is forecast to be a hurricane, and possibly a major hurricane, when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast by mid-week".

Uncertainty is evident though over the actual landfall strength of a hurricane Michael and it remains too early to speculate how the storm may behave, but right now a strong hurricane landfall in the Panhandle region looks nearly assured, putting the insurance, reinsurance, catastrophe bond and insurance-linked securities (ILS) markets on watch for more potential losses.

Its maximum sustained winds were measured at 70 miles per hour.

Depending on the track, it's possible that the storm's remnants also could bring heavy rainfall to Virginia, Maryland and Washington - another region vulnerable to flooding because of unusually wet conditions in September - by Thursday and Friday.

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

"With the National Hurricane Center forecasting Tropical Depression 14 to strengthen and impact Floridas Panhandle as a hurricane, families need to get prepared", the governor said in a release.

It's expected to move over the Yucatan Channel and then crosses the Gulf of Mexico, nearing the Florida Panhandle coast by Wednesday.

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By 11 a.m. Monday, Michael's top sustained winds were around 75 miles per hour (120 kph). Tuesday and Wednesday will bring more of a southerly push to the winds, staying in the same 10-20mph range through much of the day.

The risk of life-threatening storm surges, heavy rainfall and unsafe winds are increasing for the northeastern Gulf Coast.

Hurricane season is very much still here and today the 13th named storm of the 2018 hurricane season will be Michael.

Godsey said winds in the tropical storm range could result in downed trees and power outages.

Michael will arrive as an "extremely dangerous" storm Wednesday afternoon with winds of 145 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. update Wednesday. The areas from Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island and between the Alabama-Florida border and the Okaloosa-Walton county line could see 2 to 4 feet of storm surge. Although this storm is moving slow, it is forecast to increase in speed once it reaches the Gulf of Mexico. "Higher amounts of 2" to locally 3" will be possible across southern Maryland, closer to the center of Michael's path.

The north Florida city of Tallahassee on Sunday opened two locations where residents could get sandbags in case of flooding.

A news release from the governor's office said declaring a state of emergency ensures that state and local governments have ample time, resources and flexibility to prepare for the storm.

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