Hurricane Michael is a rare, but not unprecedented, October storm

Florida's Gov. Rick Scott issued a state of emergency late Sunday in advance of Hurricane Michael for the counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region.

Hurricane Michael is now a Category 1 storm system and is tracking toward the northwestern coast of Florida, according to an 11 a.m. update from the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) on October 8.

The storm was located by 2 a.m. ET Monday about 105 miles (170 kilometers) east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and moving to the north at about 4 mph (6 kph).

Michael pounded western Cuba with heavy rain and strong winds and is forecast to make landfall as a hurricane midweek on the northeastern US Gulf Coast.

It was moving to the North at 7 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

Hurlburt's weather staff and base leaders have analyzed the current storm forecast and decided a personnel evacuation is not necessary, the base said. "Hurricane Michael is forecast to be a Category 3 storm when it makes landfall and the impact could be devastating".

In what appeared to be an off-script moment, Scott described the dynamics of storm surge: It moves in fast and leaves just as quickly, taking with it anything that isn't anchored. Additional strengthening is expected during the next few days, and Michael is forecast to become a hurricane Monday night or Tuesday.

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A new hurricane is making its way toward Florida and is expected to bring more rainfall to southeastern North Carolina this week.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum canceled campaign events in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday to prepare for the storm, his campaign said. With Michael's winds projected to be even stronger than that, Wakulla County residents were urged to evacuate inland.

"We've never seen a storm like this hit this (the Northwest) part of our state", Scott said after a briefing Monday afternoon at the Pasco County Emergency Operations Center in New Port Richey. A warning indicates tropical storm conditions are expected, in this case, within 24 hours.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida to Anclote River Florida A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Anclote River Florida to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay, and Alabama/Florida border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Alabama/Florida border to Suwannee River Florida and the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio. DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK -------- At 100 PM CDT (1800 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Michael was located near latitude 19.2 North, longitude 86.9 West. Michael is now stationary but is expected to resume a slow northward motion later today.

The governor says she will continue to monitor Hurricane Michael, along with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.

Heavy rains are likely across parts of the state with total rainfall amounts varying, depending on the exact path Michael takes.

Even though the storm is predicted to make landfall Wednesday further north, Scott warned that areas as far south as Tampa Bay could be battered by unsafe storm surge as the storm passes by.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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