Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Gathering strength, Hurricane Michael heads for Florida

Gathering strength, Hurricane Michael heads for Florida

Michael gathered greater strength over warm Gulf of Mexico waters throughout the day on Tuesday as it jumped from a Category 2 to Category 3 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson wind scale. The pressure was down to 957 millibars.

In its discussion, the center said the environment ahead of Michael was conducive to intensification. A northward motion is expected through tonight, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday.

Hurricane Michael is bearing down on the Florida Panhandle with frightening fury.

Although we categorize hurricanes by wind speed, the deadliest hazards with these storms are the water hazards, and those do not necessarily scaleup and down with wind speed. The central pressure remains 965 millibars.

The hurricane was located at about 335 miles south of Panama City.

Some further strengthening is expected overnight and on Wednesday, and Michael is forecast to become a category 4 hurricane before it makes landfall in the Florida Panhandle or the Florida Big Bend area. Maximum sustained winds are near 50 miles per hour with higher gusts, the NHC said in an 5 a.m. AST advisory, adding that slow strengthening is forecast during the next few days.

As of 8 a.m. EDT, Michael was moving north-northwest at 12 mph and positioned about 365 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph.

As of 10 a.m., the hurricane watch for the coast of Alabama was discontinued. The Florida National Guard has over 4,000 more Guard members available for deployment, Scott said.

Air India plane hits wall on take-off
It was made a decision to divert the aircraft to Mumbai as a precautionary measure, the airline said. Alternative arrangements were being made to take the passengers to Dubai from Mumbai, they said.

Mandatory evacuations are under way in Panama City Beach and across other low-lying parts of the Florida Panhandle as Hurricane Michael approaches.

Damaging winds are expected in Florida, southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.

Several people were taken by van from coastal Wakulla County to Tallahassee's Leon County to the north. Wakulla County's shelters are not considered reliable against storms stronger than a Category 2.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for.

University of Georgia's Marshall Shepherd, a former president of the American Meteorological Society, called it a "life-altering event" on Facebook and said he watched the storm's growth on satellite images with a pit growing in his stomach.

Its winds shrieking, Michael crashed ashore in the early afternoon near Mexico Beach, a tourist town about midway along the Panhandle, a lightly populated, 200-mile stretch of white-sand beach resorts, fishing towns and military bases.

Models indicate Michael appears to be zoning in on the Big Bend for potential landfall, though areas from Destin to Apalachicola are still in the "cone of uncertainty". Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).

The National Hurricane Center said the storm was moving north-northwestward through the southern Gulf of Mexico, and that storm surge and hurricane warnings were in effect for the northeastern Gulf coast.

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