Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Florida declares state of emergency in 26 counties as Hurricane Michael approaches

A Tropical Depression Expected to Form in the Northwestern Caribbean Sea Tonight or Sunday, Heavy Rains Heading For Western Cuba Storm Michael could soon form, hit U.S. midweek
Deanna Wagner | 11 October, 2018, 03:15

As Micheal moves north the storm will continue to strengthen, and it could become a major Category 3 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico by midweek. Michael is forecasted to become a major hurricane by Tuesday or Tuesday night.

As of 8 a.m. EDT Monday, the storm was centred about 120 miles (190 kilometres) east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and moving to the north at about 7 mph (11 kph).

A tropical storm watch was also issued from the Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay. Sustained winds reached 70 miles per hour as it moved north at 7 miles per hour to the east. Heavy rainfall should hit the western portions of Cuba as it moves north.

In the United States, a storm surge watch has been issued from Navarre, Florida to Anna Maria Island, Florida. A storm surge of up to 12 feet is forecast for a large section of the Florida coast.

"Strengthening is forecast during the next several days", the hurricane center said.

Michael is now a major hurricane with max sustained winds of 120 miles per hour and gusts to 150 miles per hour.

As forecast, Michael would be the first Category 3 or higher hurricane to hit the Panhandle since Hurricane Dennis in 2005.

Scott declared an emergency in 35 counties and asked President Donald Trump for help.

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Florida State University announced it will close from Tuesday through Friday this week.

Mr Scott said in the release: "If any Florida family doesn't have an emergency preparedness plan, now is the time to act".

Thankfully, Michael is not expected to be a huge rain maker for SWFL, as the heaviest rain from the storm will stay well to our west.

Coastal hazards include life-threatening rip currents at least through Wednesday, and increased risk for beach erosion, especially around times of high tide. "This is coming very fast". "We're not looking at a Florence situation at all..."

Tornadoes are always possible when a hurricane makes landfall, but it's too early to project tornado dangers in any one spot, both forecasters said.

"I think everyone has been caught off guard by how quickly this thing has grown".

Michael is now a hurricane - lifting northward into the Gulf of Mexico and continuing to gain strength.

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours. Our state understands how serious tropical weather is and how devastating any hurricane or tropical storm can be. The declaration will free up resources for storm preparation.