Folks, Hurricane Michael is very serious. Everyone in the Florida coastal communities of the panhandle and Alabama coast need to take this approaching storm very seriously. Currently a category-3 storm with winds exceeding 120mph, there is a very real possibility of the storm gaining additional strength before landfall; current forecasts now predict a category-4 storm potential.
[Hurricane Center] At 700 PM CDT (0000 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Michael was located near latitude 26.6 North, longitude 86.5 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’s eye 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 on Friday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 120 mph (195 km/h) with higher gusts. Michael is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Strengthening is expected overnight and on Wednesday, and Michael is forecast to be near category 4 strength when it makes landfall in the Florida Panhandle or the Florida Big Bend area. Weakening is expected after landfall as Michael moves across the southeastern United States. (read more)
Those in the impact zone should leave if possible. No-one should remain on/near the coast. A category-4 storm can and will erase structures, buildings and landscape. This storm is very similar to Hurricane Charley which impacted the SW coast of Florida in 2005. The coastal topography will likely change in the 60 mile wide area of immediate impact.
Total infrastructure failure should be anticipated and it will take weeks for restoration. The coastal communities are the most vulnerable; however, the inland impact of the storm will continue unimpeded until the eye-wall crosses onto land.
That means communities inland for 50 miles will likely see consistent 100+ MPH winds for several hours. That scale of sustained wind energy will snap power poles and reinforced concrete.
As the backside of the storm then reverses the energy direction, any already compromised structures will not withstand the additional pressure. In many cases the backside of the storm is worse than the front.
If you are at/near the coast, the time to get out is now. Don’t wait. Take all mandatory evacuations seriously. If you are inland, prepare yourself for a long duration of extensive wind damage followed by an extended power outage.
*Note* my CERT crew has loaded our toolboxes and trailers onto flatbeds – and staged. Depending on my activation schedule (based on storm path); updates and posts to CTH may be limited over the next several days. However, the daily general threads and political threads will auto-post on a preset schedule. My immediate prayers are for all North Florida, Panhandle and coastal Alabama residents.
Stay strong. Thousands have staged. Help is on the way…