Michael, now a Category 1 hurricane, expected to strengthen

Michael, now a Category 1 hurricane slashing Cuba, is forecast to be a "dangerous major hurricane" when it s...

Posted: Oct 9, 2018 12:52 PM
Updated: Oct 9, 2018 12:52 PM

Michael, now a Category 1 hurricane slashing Cuba, is forecast to be a "dangerous major hurricane" when it smacks the US Gulf Coast on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The forecast indicates Michael may be a Category 3 hurricane -- with winds from 111 to 129 mph -- when it strikes.

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"Life-threatening storm surge is possible along portions of the Florida Gulf Coast regardless of the storm's exact track or intensity," the center said. "Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes."

Floridians scurried to prepare after Gov. Rick Scott expanded a state of emergency declaration to include 35 counties and activated 1,250 National Guardsmen for hurricane duty.

"Heavy rainfall from Michael could produce life-threatening flash flooding from the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region into portions of the Carolinas through Thursday," the hurricane center said.

Michael has undergone a period of "rapid intensification" -- defined as an increase of sustained winds of 35 mph in a 24-hour period. The storm went from 40 mph on Sunday to 75 mph on Monday and is expected to undergo rapid intensification again in the next 24 hours.

The Category 1 hurricane now has maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. A Category 2 hurricane has sustained winds of 96 to 110 mph. Storms with winds of at least 111 mph are designated as "major" hurricanes.

Late Monday, Michael's center was about 485 miles south of Panama City, Florida and 450 miles south of Apalachicola, with the storm moving northward at 12 miles per hour. Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 35 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 175 miles, the National Hurricane Center said.

Track the storm

The storm is aiming at a region that stretches from Mobile, Alabama, through the Florida Panhandle and into the Big Bend area of northern Florida.

A hurricane warning from the National Weather Service was declared for the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida. A warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the designated area, and warnings are typically issued 36 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected, the weather service said.

Storm and storm surge watches were issued for the Gulf Coast from the Mississippi-Alabama border to Chassahowitzka, Florida, north of Tampa Bay.

As forecast, Michael would be the first Category 3 or higher hurricane to hit the Panhandle since Hurricane Dennis in 2005. Monday, it became the seventh hurricane of 2018 in the Atlantic Basin. On average, the Atlantic would have about five hurricanes by October 8.

'Everybody's got to get ready'

Scott warned that Michael could reach land as a Category 2 hurricane, with winds in excess of 100 mph.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely dangerous," Scott said at a press briefing.

"This storm has the potential to bring devastating impacts to communities across the Panhandle and Big Bend and every family must be prepared."

"Everybody's got to get ready. Don't take a chance," he said. "We're going to get storm surge, we have wind, we have a chance of flooding, we have a significant chance of tornadoes."

The governor declared a state of emergency for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy and Citrus counties.

Voluntary, and in some cases, mandatory, evacuations were issued in some areas along the Florida Panhandle coast.

Florida State University campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City plan to close Tuesday through Friday.

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency in anticipation of damage from Hurricane Michael. The governor's declaration activates the state's emergency operations plan, according to Ivey's office.

Hurricane conditions expected in western Cuba

In the Caribbean, a hurricane warning is in effect for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio -- where most of Cuba's famed cigar tobacco is grown -- and a tropical storm warning has been issued for the Isle of Youth. A warning for the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, was canceled late Monday.

"Hurricane conditions will continue over portions of the far western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio through this evening. Tropical storm conditions are expected across the remainder of the warning areas in Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula through tonight," the center said.

"Michael is expected to produce heavy rainfall and flash flooding over portions of western Cuba and the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico during the next couple of days," it said.

According to an alert published by the Cuban Civil Defense, meteorologists warned affected residents that they could experience hurricane-force winds. Officials also alerted residents living on the coast of the possibility of flooding caused by the storm.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
Whitley311126
Wabash305851
Adams302836
Ripley300546
Putnam298950
Huntington294860
Jasper291734
White275143
Daviess271774
Jefferson266238
Decatur249583
Fayette248648
Greene242262
Posey241028
Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
Blackford111822
Pulaski97837
Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
Warren6857
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
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