Hurricane Michael has been upgraded to a Category 3 major hurricane as of the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. Tuesday advisory.
North Carolina’s governor says he’s afraid Hurricane Michael could slow the recovery for homeowners dealing with wind or flooding from Hurricane Florence.
The Weather Service warned that coast flooding is expected with each high tide.
It’s likely that Hurricane Michael will cause beach erosion for 75 percent of Florida’s Gulf Coast Beaches, the USGS predicted.
Meantime, tropical storm warnings extend from the Chassahowitzka River to the Mississippi-Alabama border.
“Monstrous” Hurricane Michael bore down on northwestern Florida on Tuesday and was expected to strengthen into a powerful Category 3 storm before hitting land on Wednesday, triggering risky coastal flooding and bringing high winds and torrential rains. It could strengthen to a Category 2 hurricane by the time it approaches the Gulf Coast of Florida by Wednesday. The designation means tropical storm force winds (39 to 73 mph) are expected in the area within 48 hours.
Forecasters said it could bring 3 to 6 inches of rain to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia, triggering flash flooding in a corner of the country still recovering from Florence. “This is game time”, Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said. But, he urged residents to stay “vigilant and ready”.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami is tracking Tropical Storm Michael, which formed from a tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea on Sunday. A shift eastward would not.
People in areas that could be affected should take no chances against such a powerful surge, Scott said, adding, “No one’s going to survive”, such a wall of water.
Although Michael will produce heavy rain showers, the storm’s accelerating forward movement should allow those downpours to move through and not over-saturate most areas. Up to four inches (10 centimeters) were expected to fall through Tuesday.
The Weather Service cautioned Floridians not to focus on the exact track of the storm.
Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said there were just hours left until Michael’s wind gusts and rain bands would start whipping the coast.
Interaction between Michael and a high pressure system to the north were creating windy and hazardous conditions along local beaches Monday, coinciding with seasonal high tides.
By Thursday, Michael will be weakening and moving through the southeastern United States.
“I know people are tired from Florence”, Cooper said at a press briefing Tuesday morning.
It should be stressed that these figures aren’t estimates of losses for hurricane Michael, rather simulated estimates for older storms in the same area that factor in today’s exposure levels.
“Hurricane Michael is a massive storm that could bring total devastation to parts of our state, especially in the Panhandle”, said Florida Gov. Rick Scott in a Monday press conference.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Tuesday issued a state of emergency declaration for 92 counties in the state.
Some 1,250 National Guard soldiers are helping residents in coastal areas to find safety, and another 4,000 are on standby, Mr Scott said. “Heavy rainfall from Michael could produce life-threatening flash flooding from the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region into portions of Georgia and SC”.
Nadine, which is no threat to land, is notable as the 14th named storm this hurricane season, which was forecast to have less activity than during a normal year.
Much of the state saw the “real thing” previous year, when Hurricane Irma force more than 6 million evacuations, flooded cities and left millions without power.