Hurricane Michael may affect Sumter area later this week

Gwen Vasquez
October 10, 2018

Alexander Charnicharo fishes at the seafront in Havana as Hurricane Michael passes by western Cuba on October 8, 2018.

Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum (left) helps Eboni Sipling fill up sandbags in Tallahassee, Florida, ahead of Hurricane Michael.

Hurricane Michael continues to push towards the Gulf of Mexico and looks to continue its trend of rapidly strengthening.

Forecasters said parts of Florida's marshy, lightly populated Big Bend area - the crook of Florida's elbow - could see up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) of storm surge.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for. "When high winds and low pressure cause water to amass inside the storm, they release a powerful rush over land when the hurricane moves onshore", CoreLogic said in a statement.

Tuesday: Conditions begin to deteriorate Tuesday night. Residents of this Florida panhandle city were busy Monday readying themselves for Hurricane Michael, which is predicted to make landfall somewhere around Panama City, Fla. Winds in thunderstorms could gust to 50 or 60 miles per hour. Local authorities fear power outages and major tree damage from Michael.

The storm rotates due to the spin of the earth and energy from the warm ocean increases wind speeds as it builds. Areas closer to the beach will experience the strongest winds, which will turn trees and other loose items into risky projectiles.

Storm surge that could be greater than 6 feet is forecast as far south as Crystal River with more than 9 feet into Apalachicola Bay.

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Michael could dump up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain over some Panhandle communities before it sweeps through the Southeast and goes back out to sea by way of the mid-Atlantic states over the next few days.

Key among these is the pace that hurricane Michael is moving at, meaning it will not drop the massive amounts of rainfall that the Carolina's experienced with Florence.

A satellite image taken at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday showed Michael as it bore down on Cuba. It was moving to the north at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, that's up from 100 mph from the previous advisory. Anything stronger, and Michael will set the record for the Panhandle's strongest storm. Winds weaken, and skies clear. Power outages could be widespread.

Floridians in counties where election offices closed Tuesday for Hurricane Michael will be able to register to vote the day those offices reopen.

RMS said that, "Because Michael is expected to be a fast-moving storm, the potential impacts are nearly the opposite of what we saw in Florence". Winds are steady through the afternoon at around 10 miles per hour from the east with gusts to 20 miles per hour. Tomorrow we will start seeing the effects of Michael and those in its path will need to take shelter by tomorrow (Tuesday) evening. At this point, winds will be from the north.

The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. Officially, the National Hurricane Center predicts the hurricane will come ashore with 125mph winds on Wednesday afternoon, but as always with the poorly understood intensification process, there remains some uncertainty. Winds are around 10 miles per hour from the east.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott called Michael a "monstrous hurricane" with a devastating potential from high winds, storm surge and heavy rains. "By contrast, Florence weakened quickly at landfall and its slow forward motion restricted its most damaging winds closer to the landfall point".

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