Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Florida, Alabama bracing for ‘monstrous’ Hurricane Michael

Florida, Alabama bracing for ‘monstrous’ Hurricane Michael

Parts of Florida's curvy Big Bend could see up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) of storm surge, while Michael also could dump up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain over some Panhandle communities as it moves inland, forecasters said.

Tropical Storm Michael formed Sunday morning in the Caribbean Sea and is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane over the next couple of days, the National Hurricane Center said.

By 5 p.m. Monday, Michael's top sustained winds were around 80 miles per hour as it headed north at 9 miles per hour. Right now the exact location of landfall is still unknown, but somewhere along the Alabama-Florida coastline.

The depression was moving north at 3 miles per hour.

NWS Charleston's latest advisory on Michael anticipates impacts along the SC coast as early as Sunday night, and minor to moderate impacts along the SC and Georgia coasts Monday until Thursday. He added that the effects of the storm could have similarities to Hurricane Hermine, which caused lengthy power outages in the Tallahassee area two years ago.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky", Scott said during a press conference. It could become a hurricane by Tuesday night.

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Hurricane Michael forecast track and path.

Described by Scott as both "monstrous" and "massive", Michael could make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour, according to current projections. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Michael could strengthen at some point to a category 4 storm. Michael was expected to become a hurricane later in the day. It was about 990 miles east-northeast of Bermuda and about 1,170 miles west of the Azores, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee said: "This is a storm to definitely take very seriously".

There is still a while to go before we have a more defined track, but across Middle Georgia we will need to keep a close eye on the forecast and strength of Michael.

Landfall is imminent on the Florida Panhandle coast Wednesday afternoon. Tampa Bay has about a 40 percent chance of tropical storm-force winds within the next five days. Heavy rains and storm surge will also be a concern.

A hurricane warning was issued for the Gulf Coast of Florida from the Alabama/Florida border eastward to Suwannee River and a hurricane watch was issued for the Alabama/Florida border westward to the Mississippi/Alabama border. The declaration would free up resources for storm preparation.

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