Tracking Hurricane Michael; It's Potential Impact in the Triad

Tracking Michael What You Need to Know

Michael is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday or Tuesday night and should make landfall Wednesday afternoon or evening. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads.

Hurricane Michael is approaching northern Florida and as Gov. Rick Scott expanded his state of emergency declaration to include Manatee County, local officials are urging residents to be prepared but have not issued a state of emergency.

Michael has undergone a period of "rapid Intensification" - defined as an increase of sustained winds of 35 mph in a 24-hour period.

By 5 p.m. Monday, Michael's top sustained winds were around 80 miles per hour (129 kph) as it headed north at 9 miles per hour (14.5 kph).

"When you're staring at a Category 2 or 3 there's no such thing as a good side", Goldberg said.

The advisory added Michael will present "risk of life-threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall an risky winds increasing for the northeastern Gulf Coast".

Michael's large size, strong winds and heavy rains could produce hazardous flooding along a stretch of Florida's Gulf coast with many rivers and estuaries where seawater pushed ashore by a hurricane could get trapped, said Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham. Also in a tropical storm watch is a swath of the Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border as well as inland areas of southern Alabama and southwest Georgia.

Hurricane Michael is on a path to the Florida Panhandle as a strong storm. Monday, it became the seventh hurricane of 2018 in the Atlantic Basin. On average, the area has had about five by this time. While it remains unclear where Hurricane Michael will hit, Wool said it would be more powerful than other storms that have damaged the eastern Panhandle and Big Bend.

"We're looking at a significant storm with significant impact, possibly greater than I've seen in my 59 years of life", Johnson said of the city, straddling the shore of Apalachicola Bay, a Gulf of Mexico inlet that reaps about 90 percent of Florida's oysters.

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

The governor also activated 1,250 National Guardsmen and said he would waive tolls for residents who were evacuating.

"Everybody's got to get ready".

"We have never seen a storm like this in this part of our state", he said after the briefing. "We are talking about a significantly higher level of wind", Wool told The News Service of Florida.

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.

Michael has quickly gained strength since the National Weather Service issued its first bulletin on the system Saturday. Mobile and Baldwin Counties are also under a Hurricane Watch.

County commissioners will receive and update from Public Safety officials Tuesday morning, Azzara said. Forecasters warned that the storm could produce up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain in western Cuba, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles (335 km) primarily to the east of the center.

Interests along the northeastern and central Gulf Coast areas are advised to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Michael.

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