Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Michael now a Category 1 hurricane

Forecasters: Caribbean storm could become hurricane Tropical storm likely to form, roll toward US Gulf coast
Faye Gross | 11 October, 2018, 01:30

The storm's current predicted track shows it making landfall Wednesday in the Panhandle, according the National Hurricane Center.

As Michael continues strengthening, it likely becomes a hurricane by Monday afternoon. "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. He warned that storm surge could affect areas of Florida not in the storm's direct path.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center on Sunday upgraded Tropical Depression Michael to a named tropical storm, saying Michael earlier had winds of up to 50 miles per hour (85 kph).

The Hurricane Center is forecasting that Michael will be a Category 1 hurricane at landfall. Currently, Leslie is located about 680 miles northeast of Bermuda, with 60 mph sustained winds, and moving east at 12 mph.

Fueled by warm tropical waters, Michael gained new strength by nightfall and could reach major hurricane status with winds topping 111 miles per hour (179 kph) before its anticipated landfall Wednesday on the Panhandle or Big Bend area of Florida, forecasters warn.

Gov. Rick Scott said he intends to declare a state of emergency for counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend areas as the region begins to ready itself for the storm.

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In Florida, state offices, schools and universities were set to close on Tuesday through the end of the week in panhandle counties. Michael could be as strong as a category 3 storm at that time.

Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 Florida counties from the Panhandle to Tampa Bay, activated hundreds of Florida National Guard members and waived tolls to encourage those near the coast to evacuate inland.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky", Scott said Sunday after receiving a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center.

Speaking Monday to the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in Orlando, Trump urged residents to heed local warnings and pledged the federal government's support. "It looked a couple of days ago like it was not going to be much, and now it's looking like it could be a very big one, so we're prepared".

But forecasters noted there is an increasing risk of unsafe surge, rainfall and wind for those in the cone. The center of Michael will pass southeast of our area, keeping the highest rain threat, severe weather potential, and highest wind potential away from our area. The declaration will free up resources for storm preparation. This is now the 13th named storm of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season.

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