Those in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend area need to pay particular attention to the path of this storm throughout the day today and tomorrow. Michael is expected to become a hurricane much sooner than initially forecast. There is a potential for strength to major hurricane status in the Northern Gulf of Mexico prior to landfall. Those in the Mississippi and Alabama coastal area should also keep an eye for updates.
[National Hurricane Center] At 700 AM CDT (1200 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Michael was located near latitude 20.9 North, longitude 85.1 West. Michael is moving toward the north near 7 mph (11 km/h). A northward motion at a slightly faster forward speed is expected through Tuesday night, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday.
On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move northward across the Yucatan Channel today, and then across the eastern Gulf of Mexico this evening through Wednesday. Michael is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph (110 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast, and Michael is expected to become a hurricane later today. Michael is forecast to be near or at major hurricane strength when it reaches the northeastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night and Wednesday. (read more)
For those in the cone of uncertainty; remember, planning and proactive measures taken now can significantly reduce stress in the days ahead. Plan when to make the best decision on any evacuation (if needed) consider Tuesday night the decision time-frame. As a general rule: take cover from wind – but evacuate away from water.
DAY ONE (Today)
- Determine Your Risk
- Make a Written Plan
- Develop and Evacuation Plan
- Inventory hurricane/storm supplies.
DAY TWO (Tuesday)
- Get Storm Update
- Assemble and Purchase Hurricane Supplies
- Contact Insurance Company – Updates
- Secure Important Papers.
- Strengthen and Secure Your Home
- Make Evacuation Decision for your Family.
DAY THREE (Wednesday)
- Get Storm Update
- Re-Evaluate your Supplies based on storm update
- Finish last minute preparation
- Assist Your Neighbors
- If Needed – Evacuate Your Family
Communication is important. Update your contact list. Stay in touch with family and friends, let them know your plans. Select a single point of contact for communication from you that all others can then contact for updates if needed. Today/tomorrow are good days to organize your important papers, insurance forms, personal papers and place them in one ‘ready-to-go’ location.
Evaluate your personal hurricane and storm supplies; update and replace anything you might have used. Assess, modify and/or update any possible evacuation plans based on your location, and/or any changes to your family status.
Check your shutters and window coverings; test your generator; re-organize and familiarize yourself with all of your supplies and hardware. Check batteries in portable tools; locate tools you might need; walk your property to consider what you may need to do based on the storms path. All decisions are yours. You are in control.
Consider travel plans based on roads and traffic density. Being proactive now helps to keep any future stress level low. You are in control. If you have pets, additional plans may be needed.
One possible proactive measure is to make a list of hotels further inland that you would consider evacuating to. Make that list today and follow updates of the storms’ progress.
Depending on information tomorrow you might call in advance and make a reservation; you can always cancel if not needed. It is better to have a secondary evacuation place established in advance. Being proactive reduces stress. Even if you wait until much later to cancel, it is better to pay a cancellation fee (usually one night charge) than to not have a plan on where to go. Trust me, it’s worth it. Protect your family. Make the list of possibilities today, make the booking decision in the next 24 hrs.
Look over the National Hurricane Center resources for planning assistance.