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Tropical Storm Michael could form late Sunday, hit the US midweek

10 October 2018

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

Tropical storm Michael formed in the Caribbean yesterday and nearly immediately meteorologists were warning of a hurricane Michael landfall in the Florida Panhandle area of the Gulf Coast around the middle of this week.

As we head into the start of the week, all eyes turn to the Gulf of Mexico, where Tropical Storm Michael is gaining strength. It was moving to the north at 5 miles per hour.

The Hurricane Center's forecast calls for Michael to become a hurricane later Monday and make landfall Wednesday with 100 miles per hour winds, which would make it a Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale.

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Michael will likely become a weak category 1 hurricane with heavy rain and risky storm surge.

"There is an increasing risk of risky storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts over portions of the northern Gulf Coast by mid-week, although it is too soon to specify the exact location and magnitude of these impacts", the forecast discussion said. Even on the low end this will become a risky storm.

Computer models are in good agreement on the track, but slight shifts toward the coast or toward the mountains will have a big impact on our forecast.

Since the storm will spend two to three days over the Gulf, which has very warm water temperatures and favorable atmospheric conditions, "there is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall", Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the Miami-based storm forecasting hub, wrote in an advisory.

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Since Michael will be moving so fast there is a chance for tropical storm winds here in the Carolinas gusting over 35 miles per hour.

The NWS release said major impacts are possible by mid-week, but that could change, depending on the cyclone's track and intensity. "There will be a significant threat along the coast of hurricane force winds, storm surge that could be exceed 6 to 12 feet in some locations, rains totaling 4" - 8" with local amounts up to 12", and isolated tornadoes.

A Tropical Storm Watch was issued from Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, which also includes Tampa Bay. Michael today has exhibited maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov.A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. The declaration would free up resources for storm preparation. A hurricane warning was in effect for the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwanee River, with a hurricane watch in place from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

After the storm moves inland, it could dump additional unwanted rain on the Carolinas, which were battered by Florence in September.

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Tropical Storm Michael could form late Sunday, hit the US midweek