Michael Could Become Cat 2 Hurricane Before It Hits Florida

Tropical Storm Michael, Heading North, Could Become Category 2 Hurricane

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on October 7 declared a state of emergency for several areas in Florida and "also directed the Florida National Guard to activate 500 guardsmen to assist with planning and logistics, and to prepare for response in impacted areas".

The Mississippi Gulf coast is under a Tropical Storm Watch, as are some of the inland counties of Alabama.

Michael was a Category 1 hurricane but could make landfall as a Category 3, and forecasters warned it could send down 10 to 30 centimetres of rain.

"Michael expected to become a hurricane very soon", the National Hurricane Center announced in its 8 a.m. bulletin. Expect widely scattered showers moving onshore through our Monday with the downpours becoming more frequent through Tuesday.

The current forecast would bring Michael into the region as a moderate to strong tropical storm.

Michael was expected to become a major Category 3 storm by Tuesday with winds over 100 miles per hour (160 km per hour), making it the most powerful storm to hit the Panhandle of Florida in over 15 years.

Storm surge watches as of Monday morning (left) and five-day rainfall forecast (right). He also waived tolls in a move to help coastal dwellers leave.

On Monday morning, the National Weather Service issued a storm surge watch from Navarre to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay.

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Michael obviously came out of nowhere and rapidly intensified, and its quick march toward the American mainland has given southeastern states (especially Florida) little time to prepare.

The U.S. military was moving its aircraft from the Panhandle on Monday.

A hurricane watch has been posted for the Florida Gulf Coast, all the way from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida. "The winds from the storm will thus be able to pile up a large storm surge along the east side of the storm's center".

Once the storm moves onto land, it will start to slow down and will most likely be significantly weaker than it is now, Steve Pfaff, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, said.

Oil companies, including BP, Equinor, Exxon Mobil Corp and BHP Billiton, on Monday started evacuating personnel from oil and gas production platforms as Hurricane Michael began its trek up the eastern U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane-force winds extend outwards from the eye of the storm for 35mph, and beyond that tropical storm-force winds are out from 175mph.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey also declared a state of emergency in her state, "in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael". King tides also could factor in to how much water the area will see, but, he said, those also are being monitored. Pfaff said this rain could cause flash flooding and even raise the river levels slightly.

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