'Extremely dangerous': Hurricane Michael set to strike Florida
10 October, 2018, 09:48 | Author: Kristi Owen
By 11 a.m., Michael had winds of 110 miles per hour, just below a major Category 3hurricane, and was getting stronger, drawing energy from Gulf waters with temperatures in the mid-80s.
But there are concerns that many have shown a lack of urgency.
As of Tuesday evening, Michael had 120mph winds, and it still had another 18 hours or so over open water to intensify before interactions with the USA landmass would force some weakening.
Hurricane Michael quickly intensified into a Category 2 over warm Gulf of Mexico waters on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time) amid fears it would strike Florida on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) as an even stronger hurricane.
Now ranked as a category-1 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson wind scale, Michael could grow into a category-3 storm, with the power to uproot trees, block roads and knock out power for days by the time it hits Florida on Wednesday.
People visit the beach while waiting for Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida.
A tropical storm watch is in effect along the southeastern coast of the USA from Fernandina Beach, FL, to South Santee River, SC, the Chassahowitzka River to Anna Maria Island in Florida, including Tampa Bay, and the Mississippi-Alabama border to the mouth of the Pearl River.
About 3.7 million people are under hurricane warnings - in the Panhandle and Big Bend regions as well as parts of southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.
A hurricane warning was issued for much of the Florida panhandle, with tropical storm watches and warnings issued for areas nearby.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum says the rapid rise of Hurricane Michael led city officials to hold a "sobering" discussion about the potential impact the storm will have on the area. The storm's tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles from its center, according to the weather center.
The NHC said in a tweet that a "life-threatening" storm surge and flash flooding was likely in areas of the Florida Panhandle and described the storm as "dangerous".
This system will need to be monitored closely for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
The Alabama Gulf Coast and Pensacola/Navarre will be on the "good" west side of the circulation.
Tallahassee City Commissioner Gil Ziffer warned that if the storm hits Florida's capital, there would be significant tree damage and power outages.
The amount of wind the area could see is not yet clear. However, risky rip currents are likely through tomorrow night. Officially, the National Hurricane Center predicts the hurricane will come ashore with 125mph winds on Wednesday afternoon, but as always with the poorly understood intensification process, there remains some uncertainty. It is bringing heavy rains to Cuba as it moves due north at 7 miles per hour.
In Cuba, it dumped more than 10 inches of rain in places, flooding fields, damaging roads, knocking out power and destroying some homes in the western province of Pinar del Rio. So the weather improves greatly on the Gulf Coast Thursday with sunshine returning.
Nadine, which is no threat to land, is notable as the 14th named storm this hurricane season, which was forecast to have less activity than during a normal year.
A few rain showers along South Florida's coast with about 1 to 3 inches expected through midweek. Then, another shot of cooler air blows into the Deep South by Tuesday. Highs will drop to where they should be in the lower 70s by the weekend. It now looks like showers associated with the next cold front will hold off until Sunday night or Monday.
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