“Life-Threatening” Michael Strengthens To Category 4 Hurricane Ahead Of Wednesday Landfall

Update (1 pm ET): The NHC has published the latest positioning update on Hurricane Michael. The storm, now about 20 miles from the Florida coast, is expected to make landfall between Panama City and St. Vincent.

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Update (12 pm ET): Now just 40 miles from Panama City, Hurricane Michael is still gaining strength as it approaches the Florida panhandle. The storm has apparently exceeded the expectations from the National Weather Service, which warned that it is a “worst case scenario” and will cause unprecedented devastation to the communities in its path.

Meanwhile, the NWS’ Tallahassee office said it issued its first ever “extreme win warning” for parts of Bay County that will soon be experiencing gusts of more than 130 mph.

President Trump tweeted satellite imagery showing just how powerful the storm has become as it approaches the Florida coast, along with a message of support.

Meanwhile, scientists warned that Michael could strengthen into a Category 5 Hurricane before making landfall, as its maximum wind speeds of 150 mph were just 7 mph shy of the most dangerous category of hurricane, per USA Today.

“There doesn’t seem to be any opportunity for this storm to weaken at all, and it may strengthen,” said Brett Rathbun, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.

One thing’s for sure: Michael isn’t slowing down.

Watch a live feed of the storm’s approach below:

 Update (9 am ET): Hurricane Michael continued to strengthen Wednesday morning, as the Category 4 storm’s wind speed increased to 145 mph. The storm is now poised to be the strongest to hit the US in 14 years, boasting a life threatening storm surge and the potential to cause $16 billion in damages.

The storm is now roughly 90 miles southwest of Panama City and is heading north at 13 miles per hour, according to the NHC’s latest update. The storm’s outer bands are already battering the coastal town of Apalachicola with winds of nearly 50 mph.

As it stands, the storm is also poised to be the strongest to hit the Florida panhandle and big bend since meteorologists first started gathering data. Regional ports have closed in anticipation, and more than 230 flights have been canceled. Duke Energy Corp., a utility that supplies electricity to the region, expects more than 200,000 customers in the state will be without power. In preparation for the widespread outages, local utilities have about 19,000 workers on stand by ready to work to quickly restore power, with more workers pouring in from out of state. Still, some areas are expected to be without power for more than a week, per the Daily Commercial.

“A storm like this could be a once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Brett Rathbun, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. “Winds of this intensity can really knock down any tree or structure in its path.”

There are also 3,500 National Guard members, 1,000 rescue workers and 3,000 FEMA employees in the area ready to aid in the response. Michael is whipping up waves as high as 30 feet in the Gulf and could bring a 14-foot surge and 4 to 8 inches of rain, with some isolated areas getting as much as 12 inches.

Update: Michael strengthens to category 4 hurricane 

As residents of the Florida panhandle and big bend scrambled to flee their homes, Hurricane Michael strengthened to a Category 4 Hurricane over night putting it on track to rival the strongest storms to ever make landfall in that part of the country. As one meteorologist pointed out, if Michael doesn’t weaken before making landfall late Wednesday, it would surpass Hurricane Eloise, which wrecked the panhandle in 1975, and the Pensacola Hurricane of 1882 for strongest winds ever recorded for a landfall in the panhandle. If the storm’s 140 mph+ wind speeds are maintained, Michael could be the strongest storm to hit the area since the dawn of record-keeping in 1851. 

While Florida residents are somewhat accustomed to record-breaking storms, according to the Weather Channel, “no long-time residents of this area will have seen a hurricane this strong before.” Stores in the region have started rationing supplies like water and generators as residents have scrambled to stock up while state of emergencies have been issued in Florida and Alabama. The National Weather Service described the storm as “extremely dangerous.”

Hurricane warnings are in effect for the Florida Gulf Coast from the Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River, Fla. This includes Pensacola, Panama City, Destin and Tallahassee. Warnings also extend inland to southwestern Georgia, including Albany. Hurricane Warnings are issued a day-and-a-half before the anticipated arrival of tropical storm force winds. Nearly 4 million people live in these areas, while another 8.5 million live in areas facing tropical storm warnings.


Emergency officials in Bay County, Florida – where Michael is expected to make landfall – said they are already witnessing deteriorating conditions due to the storm.

Just hours after President Trump approved Florida’s Emergency Declaration, Hurricane Michael grew into a major Category 4 storm just one day before its expected arrival on Florida’s Gulf Shore.

Just hours after President Trump approved Florida’s Emergency Declaration, Hurricane Michael grew into a major Category 3 storm just one day before its expected arrival on Florida’s Gulf Shore.

“If you don’t follow warnings from officials this storm could kill you,” said Scott, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate in November’s congressional elections.


Ed Vallee notes that Michael is “still expected to make landfall close to Panama City, FL midday Wednesday as a major hurricane. Final preparations need to be rushed to completion TODAY.”

Reuters reports that tens of thousands of coastal residents are in the process of fleeing to higher ground to avoid the towering waves and roof-shredding winds.

But that might not enough, as Ed Vallee points out that gusts will be strong for the interior… unleashing potentially devastating waves of seawater as high as 12 feet

By tonight, Michael was already causing major disruptions to U.S. oil and gas production (shutting in around 40% of production) as it churned north over the Gulf of Mexico, and coastal flooding had begun along the Northern gulf coast from wave run up, high tides and a steady E to ESE wind.

At latest report, the NHC said the storm was packing sustained winds of up to 120 miles per hour (195 km per hour), jumping from a Category 2 to Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson wind scale.

As Reuters explains, winds of that magnitude can inflict substantial damage to roofs and walls of even well-constructed homes, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm also is likely dump prodigious amounts of rain over Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas – still recovering from severe flooding last month in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Up to a foot of rainfall (30 cm) is forecast for some areas.

“This is a storm that is going to be life-threatening in several ways,” said Bo Patterson, the mayor of Port St. Joe, Florida, whose small beachfront town lies directly in the storm’s projected path.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said Michael was expected to be “the most deadly, destructive storm to the panhandle in decades.”


via www.zerohedge.com

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One comment

  1. too bad for the pan handle eers, but they know and knew that some day this would happen and they still stayed there, and when disaster happens they will whine for the government to bail them out

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