Hurricane Michael is headed straight for Florida’s Panhandle and is expected to make landfall there sometime on Wednesday. The latest European model shows the storm intensifying — possibly to a Category 3 — before it crests Florida’s coast near Tallahassee. You can see the Euro model below.
The storm, which hasn’t officially been upgraded to a hurricane just yet, is currently located approximately 90 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico. It is bringing heavy rains to Cuba as it moves due north at 7 miles per hour. The storm is expected to strengthen as it moves through the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
“Michael is forecast to be a hurricane, and possibly a major hurricane, when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast by mid-week, and storm surge and hurricane watches are now in effect for portions of the area. Some areas along the Florida Gulf Coast are especially vulnerable to storm surge, regardless of the storm’s exact track or intensity,” the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.
If Michael is a Category 2 storm, it will bring winds of 96 to 110 miles per hour and can be expected to produce extensive property damage. A Category 3 storm has sustained winds of 111-129 miles per hour. Heavy rain, storm surge, and downed trees and power lines are also expected along Florida’s western coast.
Although the forecast could change, there is no indication that the storm will deteriorate before making landfall. There is also little chance that the storm’s path will shift majorly east or west, based on the latest models. While the European models and the GFS models usually don’t agree on the paths of storms, both seem to be on the same page for Michael’s track. You can see the GFS model below.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has issued a state of emergency for 26 counties. Additionally, 500 members of the Florida National Guard have been activated ahead of the storm.
“This storm will be life-threatening and extremely dangerous,” Scott said on Sunday.