As expected Hurricane Michael continues to strengthen while traveling through the Gulf of Mexico and is forecast to make landfall as a major hurricane mid-day tomorrow. Everyone in the impact zone should rush final preparations to completion and heed the advice and warnings from local officials.
[Hurricane Center] At 1000 AM CDT (1500 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Michael was located near latitude 25.0 North, longitude 86.2 West. Michael is moving toward the north near 12 mph (19 km/h). A northward motion is expected through tonight, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday. On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through tonight.
The center of Michael is then 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, and move off the Mid-Atlantic coast away from the United States by Friday.
Data from NOAA and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 110 mph (175 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected, and Michael is forecast to be a major hurricane at landfall in Florida. Weakening is expected after landfall as Michael moves through the southeastern United States.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km). NOAA buoy 42003 recently reported 1-minute mean winds of 45 mph (72 km/h) and a wind gust of 56 mph (91 km/h). The latest minimum central pressure based on data from the aircraft is 965 mb (28.50 inches). (read more)