Hurricane Michael European Model Shows Storm Intensifying

A satellite image shows Tropical Storm Michael churning toward the Florida Panhandle in the Gulf of Mexico on Oct. 7 2018

Hurricane Michael continues to gain strength as it moves through the southern Gulf of Mexico.

The hurricane center is already warning of storm surge up to 12 feet in some areas, plus heavy rainfall through Florida's Panhandle and into Alabama, Georgia and SC, and "tropical storm"-force winds". "If it doesn't reach Category 3 but has 110 miles per hour winds, it's still going to be a bad storm". The National Hurricane center says the Florida Panhandle should prepare for life-threatening storm surge, destructive winds and heavy rainfall.

A northward motion is expected through tonight, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday.

The storm then looks destined to move through the southeast USA on Thursday as a tropical storm, bringing heavy rains to Georgia and the Carolinas, before moving back out to the Atlantic on Friday. The storm's center is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Ben area today before moving northeastward across the southeastern USA tonight and tomorrow morning.

After striking Florida, Michael is forecast to move up the East Coast on Wednesday and Thursday ploughing through the Carolinas, still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month. Earlier, a Hurricane Hunter aircraft had reported Michael's eyewall was a little less organized, however they noted overnight that the hurricane had been defying all odds by strengthening Monday even while enduring wind shear.

These storm surges can cause more damage from flooding than the winds.

The Panhandle, from Pensacola to Apalachicola, will experience the most significant effects from the hurricane.

A hurricane watch is in effect for coastal Alabama and a tropical storm watch is in effect for coastal Mississippi.

The system, which would be named Nadine, if it becomes a tropical storm, is no threat to land.

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The depression has winds of 35 miles per hour and is expected to move north and east in the coming days. The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide...

Life-threatening storm surge is forecast along portions of the Florida Gulf Coast regardless of the storm's exact track or intensity.

Neighbouring Alabama is also expecting strong winds, heavy rain and power cuts as a result of the hurricane.

The Orlando area will get plenty of rain and windy conditions, however.

The Weather Service predicts the Carolinas could see 3 to 6 inches of rain from Michael. The Panhandle, as well as south Alabama and south Georgia would see 4-8 inches of rainfall with isolates amounts of 12 inches. Forecasters warned of up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain in western Cuba, triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountain areas. Heavy rain could trigger the same kind of risky flash flooding in the Big Bend, Panhandle, Georgia and SC, forecasters warned. There is a small chance they could swipe the eastern edge of Southern New England on Friday morning.

Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum (left) helps Eboni Sipling fill up sandbags in Tallahassee, Florida, ahead of Hurricane Michael.

RMS said that, "Because Michael is expected to be a fast-moving storm, the potential impacts are nearly the opposite of what we saw in Florence".

By 1800 GMT it was nearing the western tip of Cuba, off Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, and was forecast to push through the Gulf of Mexico before moving inland over the northern Gulf Coast of Florida, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said.

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