Publicado: Jue, Octubre 11, 2018
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

Tropical Storm Michael is strengthening, likely becomes a hurricane today

Parts of Florida's curvy Big Bend could see up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) of storm surge, while Michael also could dump up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain over some Panhandle communities as it moves inland, forecasters said.

"In fact, almost every piece of intensity guidance brings the cyclone to hurricane strength before it reaches land, including the GFS, ECMWF, and UKMET global models, which all show significant deepening of the central pressure", National Hurricance Center forecaster Robbie Berg wrote in a morning discussion of the storm. "I don't want to lose everything in the freezer, but it is what is", said Beaver as she loaded sandbags into her family's pickup truck.

"The FL panhandle needs to be prepared for a direct hit with sustained hurricane force winds", Scott wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Unlike Hurricane Florence, Tropical Storm Michael, now located west of Cuba and packing 70 miles per hour winds, is a fast-moving storm.

The storm was about 130 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico and moving north-northeast at about 3 mph.

A tropical storm that rapidly formed off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula has gained new strength and could become a unsafe Category 2 hurricane with an expected midweek strike on the Gulf Coast in the Florida Panhandle, forecasts say. Significant impacts are expected near landfall along the Florida Panhandle to the Big Bend.

In Florida, state offices, schools and universities were set to close on Tuesday through the end of the week in panhandle counties.

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In Southwest Florida, conditions will be windy and stormy through Wednesday and boating in the Gulf will become hazardous at times starting late Monday.

Scott also activated 500 National Guard Troops in advance of the storm.

"If this storm hit Panama City, Tampa could still have storm surge", said Scott, referring to two Florida cities about 375 miles apart by highway. "This is coming very fast".

The Hurricane Center predicts risky surf conditions will start to appear along the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday.

"It depends on what the city says in terms of the people getting around". If it tracks more west we will see higher rain coverage and stronger winds.

But forecasters noted there is an increasing risk of unsafe surge, rainfall and wind for those in the cone. The declaration will free up resources for storm preparation. This includes in Haiti where recovery efforts from a deadly natural disaster are ongoing.

The storm will be moving at a steady clip, so it is unlikely to produce the type of extreme rainfall that Hurricane Florence did.

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