Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Michael becomes a hurricane as it heads to U.S.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at the Baltimore Fleet Week and Air Show Oct. 7 U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at the Baltimore Fleet Week and Air Show Oct. 7
Ellis Copeland | 08 October, 2018, 18:53

The National Hurricane Center is tracking Hurricane Michael, which strengthened from a tropical storm on Monday.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 26 counties in Florida's Panhandle and Big Bend areas.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky", Scott said after receiving a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.Indian Pass to Crystal River.8-12 ft Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass.5-8 ft Crystal River to Anclote River.4-6 ft Anclote River to Anna Maria Island including Tampa Bay.2-4 ft Navarre to Okaloosa/Walton County Line.2-4 ftWIND: Hurricane conditions will spread across the far western part of the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio this afternoon and evening.

Michael is 140 miles east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, moving toward the north near 7 mph as it moves into the southern Gulf of Mexico with 75 mph winds.

But it rapidly intensified, and its top winds clocked in at 60 miles per hour by late Sunday evening.

Michael is now centered about 120 miles east northeast of Cozumel and 70 miles south of the western tip of Cuba, and it is expected to work its way into the Gulf of Mexico, where warm waters will make the storm much stronger.

Forecasters advised residents along the northeastern and central U.S. Gulf Coast to monitor the storm's progress.

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"While the impacts are still uncertain, our area could experience increased wind activity and heavy rainfall, which could cause localized flooding and downed trees", Tallahassee officials said in a statement.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum canceled campaign events in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday to prepare for the storm, his campaign said.

The city of Pensacola tweeted to residents, "Be sure you have your emergency plan in place". A warning indicates tropical storm conditions are expected, in this case, within 24 hours.

The NHC says that the storm could produce a foot of rain in western Cuba, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas.

The storm is expected to dump 4 to 8 inches of rain on Cuba, with some areas of the island nation seeing up to a foot of water.

Outer bands from Michael are expected produce as much as 4 inches of rain through Tuesday in the Florida Keys, one of several areas in the state devastated by Hurricane Irma a year ago.

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