Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Hurricane Michael to generate rain, wind and storm surge across Tampa Bay

Hurricane Michael to generate rain, wind and storm surge across Tampa Bay

Landfall is expected some time on Wednesday near Panama City -Appalachicola and, by that time, Michael is forecast to strengthen to a Category 3 (or major) hurricane.

The advisory added Michael will present "risk of life-threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall an risky winds increasing for the northeastern Gulf Coast".

According to ABC News, the storm is around 120 miles east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and its maximum sustained wind speeds have reached up to 70 mph.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida to Anclote River Florida A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Anclote River Florida to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay, and Alabama/Florida border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Alabama/Florida border to Suwannee River Florida and the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio. The Florida Panhandle and Big Bend area stretching into Georgia and SC could see four to eight inches of rain, with some areas as high as 12 inches.

Leon County Schools, Florida State University and its Panama City campus will be closed Tuesday through the end of the week. Remember, this storm could grow stronger and be a Category 3 hitting our state.

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"I've issued a State of Emergency in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds & heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael", Gov. Ivey tweeted. Later in the day, its sustained winds topped 80 miles per hour, with stronger gusts.

According to an alert published by the Cuban Civil Defense, meteorologists warned affected residents that they could experience hurricane-force winds. While it remains unclear where Hurricane Michael will hit, Wool said it would be more powerful than other storms that have damaged the eastern Panhandle and Big Bend.

"If you decide to stay in your home and a tree falls on your house or the storm surge catches you and you're now calling for help, there's no one that can respond to help you", Morgan said.

Saavedra said it is too early to say the exact track the storm will take but area residents should plan for severe weather around Thursday, though timing could change as confidence in tracking models increase.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 26 counties along the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend. Rainfall is a lesser threat due to the storm's progressive movement to the north.

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Walton County, now charted to be on the western side of the storm, announced a mandatory evacuation Monday for all areas south of Choctawhatchee Bay and east to the county line. "Tropical storm conditions are expected over the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula and the Isle of Youth today", the center said.

"Michael is expected to produce heavy rainfall and flash flooding over portions of western Cuba and the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico during the next couple of days", the center said.

This storm is very different than Florence because it will NOT stall.

A satellite image of Tropical Storm Michael taken Monday. As of Monday afternoon, Michael is projected to be the first major hurricane to slam the Panhandle since 2005.

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