Overview of Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Fl October 10 as a category 4 storm and arrived in southwestern Georgia early Wednesday evening as a category 3 storm. Michael has now transitioned into a tropical storm as it advances northeastward over central Georgia, early Oct. 11. Forecast models indicate that Michael will continue to weaken as it interacts with land over the coming hours; however, the system is still is expected to maintain its tropical storm status as it transits the northeastern US, Oct. 11-12.

Travelers should anticipate extensive flight disruptions in the southeastern U.S. through at least October 12. Check flight status before heading to the airport.

 

Listen to the latest podcast where Sean Wolinsky, meteorologist and weather risk management expert, discusses the 2018 hurricane season, including notable storms Florence and Michael.

 

Below you will find intelligence updates as our team of expert analysts continuously track the storm. These alerts provide a glimpse into one of 11 categories covered by WorldAware intelligence-driven risk management services.

 

Navigate to each of the weather alert updates below:

October 11 | Update 7:  Michael weakens into tropical storm as it advances over eastern US, Oct. 11.

October 10 | Transportation Update 1:  Michael weakens into tropical storm as it advances over eastern US, Oct. 11.

October 10 | Update 6:  Michael makes historic landfall near Panama City, Fla., US, Oct. 10.

October 10 | Update 5:  Michael advances toward Florida Panhandle as major hurricane.

October 9 | Update 4:  Michael continues to intensify late Oct. 9.

October 9 | Update 3:  Michael continues to strengthen as it transits the Gulf of Mexico Oct. 9.

October 8 | Update 2:  Michael strengthens to a hurricane near the Yucatan Channel, Oct. 8.

October 7 | Update 1:  Potential Cyclone 14 strengthens to TS Michael off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Oct. 7.

Resources

 

 

 


 

October 11 | Update 7: Michael weakens into tropical storm as it advances over eastern US, Oct. 11. Hazardous weather, related disruptions ongoing.

Click above map for interactive Google Map of Hurricane Michael.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Norfolk, Virginia
  • Havana
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Key West, Florida
  • Mobile, Alabama
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Tallahassee, Florida
  • Pensacola, Florida
  • Hampton-Newport News, Virginia
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Columbus, Georgia
  • Destin, Florida
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Panama City, Florida
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  • Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida
  • Morehead City, North Carolina
  • Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
  • Nags Head, North Carolina
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Chincoteague, Virginia
  • Brunswick-Golden Isles, Georgia
  • Florence, South Carolina
  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Albany, Georgia
  • Macon-Warner Robins, Georgia
  • Waycross, Georgia
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Valdosta, Georgia
  • New Bern, North Carolina
  • Danville, Virginia
  • Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • Dalton, Georgia
  • Moultrie, Georgia
  • Greenville, North Carolina

 

This alert began 11 Oct 2018 08:51 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 Oct 2018 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Tropical Storm Michael
  • Center of Circulation: Southeastern US, approximately 40 km (25 miles) east of Macon, Georgia
  • Maximum Sustained Winds: 65 kts (120 kph, 75 mph)
  • Affected Areas: Southeastern US (Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Carolinas, southern Virginia)

 

Summary

Hurricane Michael has transitioned into a tropical storm as it advances northeastward over central Georgia, early Oct. 11. As of 0200 EDT, the system's center of circulation was located approximately 40 km (25 miles) east of Macon, Georgia. Forecast models indicate that Michael will continue to weaken as it interacts with land over the coming hours; however, the system is still is expected to maintain its tropical storm status as it transits the northeastern US, Oct. 11-12.

Although additional projections suggest that Michael could become an extratropical storm once it enters the western Atlantic Ocean early Oct. 12, some uncertainty remains in the current forecast. Tropical Storm Michael's track and intensity will likely remain subject to change over the next 24-48 hours.

Weather Warnings
As of early Oct. 11, the following warnings, watches, and/or advisories have been issued in response to the hurricane:

  • Tropical Storm Warning: North of Fernandina Beach, Florida, to Duck, North Carolina; Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds
  • Storm Surge Warning: Panama City, Florida, to Keaton Beach, Florida
  • Storm Surge Watch: Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina

Hurricane and tropical storm warnings are also in effect further inland in portions of southeastern Alabama, central and southern Georgia, and parts of the Carolinas. Flash flood watches are in place throughout the affected area, including into southern Virginia. Officials have also issued a high wind warning for southeast Virginia, the Virginia eastern shore, and northeast North Carolina; these areas could experience wind gusts averaging around 80-97 kph (50-60 mph) through at least Oct. 12.

Emergency Preparations
Life-threatening weather conditions will persist in the southeastern US through at least Oct. 12. Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 35 counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region ahead of the hurricane's landfall. The disaster declaration extends to the following locations in Florida: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Columbia, Hamilton, Suwanee, Lafayette, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, Citrus, Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Alachua, Union, Bradford, and Baker. State of emergency declarations have also been issued in Alabama and central and southern Georgia. South Carolina remains in a state of emergency following Hurricane Florence, and in anticipation of impacts from Hurricane Michael.

The declarations have been issued to allocate resources and facilitate coordination between local, state, and federal agencies; over 5,000 National Guard members are prepared to mobilize in Florida for response and recovery needs. Authorities have indicated that a further 30,000 emergency personnel from other states may also be deployed to assist rescue and relief efforts.

Evacuation Orders
As of Oct. 11, officials are maintaining the following voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders in Florida:

  • Bay County: Mandatory evacuations in zones A, B, and C
  • Calhoun County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for low-lying areas and mobile homes
  • Citrus County: Mandatory evacuations for zone A and mobile homes
  • Dixie County: Mandatory evacuations in coastal zone A, as well as in low-lying areas and mobile homes
  • Franklin County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Gadsden County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Gulf County: Mandatory evacuation in Cape San Blas; Indian Pass Area; Simmons Bayou (Highland View); Windmark; all areas from St. Joseph Bay to Long Avenue in Port St. Joe; St. Joe Beach and Beacon Hill-Waterside of Highway 98; all those with high-profile vehicles, living in mobile homes, low-lying areas, or anyone who feels unsafe in their current location
  • Hernando County: Voluntary/phased evacuations in coastal zones A and B
  • Jackson County: Mandatory evacuation for all mobile homes, recreational vehicle (RV) parks, and state parks
  • Leon County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for all mobile homes and low-lying flood-prone areas
  • Levy County: Mandatory evacuation for coastal areas
  • Liberty County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for all mobile homes, sub-standard housing, and low-lying areas
  • Madison County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for mobile homes and unsafe structures
  • Okaloosa County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Pasco County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for mobile homes and low-lying flood-prone areas
  • Taylor County: Mandatory evacuation for coastal and low-lying areas
  • Wakulla County: Mandatory evacuations for coastal zone A, as well as mobile homes and other weak structures; voluntary/phased evacuations elsewhere in the county
  • Washington County: Voluntary/phased evacuations across the county

Additional evacuations are possible for other areas in the southeastern US as the hurricane moves through the region. Many emergency shelters in Florida are full; those within the landfall zone are urged to shelter in place until the worst weather conditions subside.

Hazardous Conditions
Although Tropical Storm Michael has left the Florida Panhandle and Florida Big Bend regions, hazardous weather produced by the system will likely impact these areas through at least Oct. 11. Adverse weather is also anticipated in parts of Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia as the tropical storm transits the southeastern US over the next 24 hours. The following rainfall accumulations have predicted throughout the affected areas:

  • Georgia, the Carolinas, and southeastern Virginia: 10-20 cm (4-8 inches); localized totals of up to 20 cm (8 inches); life-threatening flash and areal flooding possible
  • Florida: 3-8 cm (1-3 inches)

Flood-control systems throughout the region will be stressed by the water volumes, and some protection measures - such as dams and reservoirs - could fail. Areas in the Carolinas that recently experienced flooding from Hurricane Florence might be particularly susceptible to additional rises on watercourses.

Extensive storm surge inundation and coastal flooding has been reported along portions of the Florida Panhandle and Florida Big Bend, particularly between Panama City and Keaton Beach. As of early Oct. 11, the following water levels above normal tides are possible in these areas and elsewhere (especially if the surge coincides with high tide):

  • Panama City to Keaton Beach, Florida: 0.9-1.5 meters (3-5 feet)
  • Sound side of the North Carolina Outer Banks (from Ocracoke Inlet to Duck): 0.6-1.2 meters (2-4 feet)

Since Michael's historic landfall in the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 storm Oct. 10, maximum sustained winds associated with the system have steadily weakened. However, tropical storm-force winds of around 97 kph (60 mph) continue to extend approximately 206 km (106 miles) from the center of the storm as of early Oct. 11.

These winds could cause extensive damage even to well-built homes, including the removal of roofing and decking materials and some exterior walls. The combination of highly saturated soils and strong winds will lead to fallen trees and power lines, as well as scattered debris; utilities, including power and water, are likely to be unavailable for several days to weeks in some areas. Thousands of customers in the Florida Panhandle have already been left without power since late Oct. 10; the number of outages is likely to rapidly increase as the hurricane tracks through the region. In addition to the threat posed by tropical storm winds, isolated tornadoes remain possible from Georgia into the Carolinas over the next 24-48 hours.

Ground Transport
Michael will contribute to extensive ground transport disruptions over the coming days. Traffic and commercial trucking delays are highly likely on regional highways; high winds will pose a significant hazard to vehicles, and driving will be nearly impossible in affected areas for the duration of the storm. Secondary and low-lying roads will probably be inundated by floodwaters; authorities might close some roads and bridges to traffic, especially those along the coast or in frequently flooded locations in urban areas. Standing water could block some low-lying roads for several days following Michael's transit. Anticipate protracted road closures due to debris and damage for several days, especially in the landfall zone.

Air Transport
Anticipate extensive flight disruptions in the southeastern US through at least Oct. 12. Flight delays, cancellations, or temporary flight suspensions are likely at airports including - but not limited to - those serving Atlanta (ATL), Charleston (CHS), Charlotte (CLT), Columbia (CAE), Jacksonville (JAX), Mobile (MOB), Myrtle Beach (MYR), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), and Tampa (TPA) for the duration of the storm. Flights have been suspended at airports serving Destin (VPS), Panama City (ECP), Pensacola (PNS), and Tallahassee (TLH) through at least early Oct. 11, and possibly longer.

Several major US carriers are offering travel waivers for flights to, from, or through some airports in the affected area, allowing passengers to change or cancel tickets without additional fees.

Maritime Transport
Rough seas and significant storm surge will cause maritime transport disruptions throughout the Gulf of Mexico over the coming days. Officials could regulate ferry and shipping traffic at facilities between Mobile and Tampa, including in Apalachicola Harbor. As of early Oct. 11, ports serving Panama City and Pensacola, and parts of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, remain closed to vessel operations; the US Coast Guard has also suspended all commercial port operations from Cedar Key to Tarpon Springs in Florida until further notice. Vessel traffic could resume within the coming hours in these areas; however, authorities will need to survey for potential damages prior to the resumption of operations.

 

Advice

Shelter-in-place if located in the landfall zone in the Florida Panhandle. Continue to heed all coastal evacuation orders until they are lifted by authorities. Use extreme caution in low-lying coastal areas and near streams, creeks, and other waterways due to the high potential for severe flooding and storm surge. Charge battery-powered devices when electricity is available; restrict the use of cellular phones to emergencies only. Power down mobile devices when not in use. Keep important documents in waterproof containers. Observe strict food and water precautions after the storm passes, as municipalities could issue boil water advisories following flooding events.

Plan accordingly for protracted commercial, transport, and logistics disruptions in areas in the path of the storm, especially if vital infrastructure is damaged. Seek updated information on road conditions before driving or routing shipments through areas where flooding has occurred. Confirm flights before checking out of hotels or driving to the airport; clearing passenger backlogs may take several days in some locations.

 

 


 

October 10 | Transportation Update 1: Hurricane Michael causing air transport disruptions in parts of the southeastern US through at least Oct. 11. Confirm flights.

Click above map for interactive Google Map of Hurricane Michael.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Mobile, Alabama
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Tallahassee, Florida
  • Pensacola, Florida
  • Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi
  • Columbus, Georgia
  • Destin, Florida
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Panama City, Florida
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Brunswick-Golden Isles, Georgia
  • Florence, South Carolina
  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Albany, Georgia
  • Valdosta, Georgia
  • Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • Dothan, Alabama

This alert began 10 Oct 2018 23:41 GMT and is scheduled to expire 12 Oct 2018 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Air transport disruptions
  • Location: Southeastern US (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Caroli
  • Time Frame: Through at least Oct. 11
  • Impact: Airport closures; flight delays and cancellations
Summary

Hurricane Michael is significantly impacting air transport in parts of the southeastern US during its passage. As of afternoon Oct. 11, several airports in western Florida, southern Georgia, and southern Alabama have closed. Further closures and flight cancellations are likely as the storm moves inland. Airlines have also canceled numerous flights throughout the region.

All major US airlines have issued travel waivers for the region allowing passengers to change flights without additional costs. Several airlines have also implemented price caps or other price controls for flights from airports in the region.

Operations at major hubs in the region, including Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) and Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) remain largely unaffected by the storm.

Alabama

  • Dothan Regional Airport (DHN): Airport closed, scheduled to reopen 1200 Oct. 11.
  • Mobile Regional Airport (MOB): No current disruptions or scheduled closures.
  • Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM): Airport open, some flights canceled Oct. 10.

Florida

  • Destin Fort Walton Beach International Airport (VPS): Airport closed, scheduled to reopen 1100 Oct. 11.
  • Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV): No current disruptions or scheduled closures.
  • Jacksonville International Airport (JAX): No current disruptions or scheduled closures.
  • Panama City Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP): Airport closed, scheduled to reopen 1100 Oct. 11.
  • Pensacola International Airport (PNS): Airport closed, scheduled to reopen 1530 Oct. 10.
  • Tallahassee International Airport (TLH): Airport closed, scheduled to reopen 2200 Oct. 11.
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA): No current disruptions or scheduled closures.

Georgia

  • Albany Southwest Georgia Regional Airport (ABY): Airport closed, scheduled to reopen 1300 Oct. 11.
  • Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL): No current disruptions or scheduled closures.
  • Augusta Regional Airport (AGS): Airport open, some flights canceled Oct. 10-11.
  • Brunswick Golden Isles Airport (BQK): Airport open, some flights canceled Oct. 10.
  • Columbus Metropolitan Airport (CSG): Airport open, some flights canceled Oct. 10.
  • Savannah Hilton Head International Airport: Airport open, some flights canceled Oct. 10-11.
  • Valdosta Regional Airport (VLD): Airport closed, scheduled to reopen 0200 Oct. 11.

Mississippi

  • Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT): No current disruptions or scheduled closures.

North Carolina

  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT): No current disruptions or scheduled closures.
  • Wilmington International Airport (ILM): Airport open, some flights canceled Oct. 11.

South Carolina

  • Charleston International Airport (CHS): Airport open, some flights canceled Oct. 10-11.
  • Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE): No current disruptions or scheduled closures.
  • Florence Regional Airport (FLO): Airport open, some flights canceled Oct. 11.
  • Hilton Head Island Airport (HHH): Airport open, most flights canceled Oct. 11.
  • Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR): Airport open, some flights canceled Oct. 11.

The status of airports and flights operating at the facilities above will likely fluctuate over the coming days. Additional cancellations and airport closures are likely, but disruptions will ultimately depend on the storm's path and intensity. Announced airport reopening times tend to be fluid; airports may reopen sooner than the announced time or remain closed past the announced time.

The hurricane's impact on air travel beyond the southeastern US will depend on the storm's track. If the storm causes major disruptions at CLT or ATL, it will likely cause widespread flight disruptions around the country, as both of these airports are hubs for major US airlines. If the storm does not have a significant impact on either airport, disruptions will likely be mostly contained to the region. According to current forecasts, the storm is unlikely to significantly disrupt operations at either airport.

 

 

Advice

Confirm flights before checking out of hotels or attempting to drive to the airport after the situation begins to normalize. Contact airlines for information about change fee waivers. If necessary, reschedule flights as soon as possible, as seats on alternative flights are likely to fill quickly.

 

 


October 10 | Update 6: Michael makes historic landfall near Panama City, Fla., US, Oct. 10. Extensive storm surge and damaging winds ongoing.

Click above map for interactive Google Map of Hurricane Michael.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Norfolk, Virginia
  • Havana
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Key West, Florida
  • Mobile, Alabama
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Tallahassee, Florida
  • Pensacola, Florida
  • Hampton-Newport News, Virginia
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Columbus, Georgia
  • Destin, Florida
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Panama City, Florida
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  • Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida
  • Morehead City, North Carolina
  • Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
  • Nags Head, North Carolina
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Chincoteague, Virginia
  • Brunswick-Golden Isles, Georgia
  • Florence, South Carolina
  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Albany, Georgia
  • Macon-Warner Robins, Georgia
  • Waycross, Georgia
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Valdosta, Georgia
  • New Bern, North Carolina
  • Danville, Virginia
  • Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • Dalton, Georgia
  • Moultrie, Georgia
  • Greenville, North Carolina

This alert began 10 Oct 2018 20:04 GMT and is scheduled to expire 12 Oct 2018 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Hurricane Michael
  • Center of Circulation: Approximately 30 km (20 miles) southeast of Panama City, Florida
  • Maximum Sustained Winds: 135 kts (250 kph, 155 mph)
  • Affected Areas: Southeastern US (Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Carolinas, southern Virginia)
Summary

Hurricane Michael made a historic landfall near Tyndall Air Force Base in southern Bay County, Florida, the afternoon of Oct. 10. The event marked the first time in recorded history that a Category 4 hurricane made landfall in the Florida Panhandle; Michael is also one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall in the continental US, with a record-setting low pressure measurement. Michael was just shy of a Category 5 hurricane; post-storm damage assessments could conclude that wind speeds from the storm were in fact Category 5-strength.

As of 1400 EDT, the eye of the hurricane was approximately 30 km (20 miles) southeast of Panama City, Florida. As it continues to move over land, the hurricane will start to lose strength; however, it could remain at hurricane intensity as it pushes into southern Georgia through the evening hours. Forecast models indicate that Michael will weaken to a tropical storm by early Oct. 11 as it rapidly moves northeastward through the Carolinas. The system will likely transition into an extratropical low as it reaches the western Atlantic Ocean around Oct. 12.

Individuals who have failed to heed evacuation warnings in the landfall zone have been urged to shelter in place until the storm has subsided; life-threatening weather conditions could persist in the Florida Panhandle through the evening of Oct. 10 before emergency personnel are able to start assisting with recovery efforts in the hardest-hit areas.

Weather Warnings
Hurricane Michael will be large and produce adverse and potentially life-threatening weather conditions in much of the eastern Gulf Coast region and into the southeastern US. Although the storm will move quickly through the region, wind damage and flooding will threaten inland areas as the system moves to the northeast.

As of the afternoon of Oct. 10, the following warnings, watches, and/or advisories have been issued in response to the hurricane:

  • Hurricane Warning: Alabama-Florida border to Suwannee River, Florida
  • Tropical Storm Warning: Suwanee River, Florida to Chassahowitzka, Florida; north of Fernandina Beach, Florida to Duck, North Carolina; Pamlico and Albemarle sounds
  • Storm Surge Warning: Okaloosa-Walton County Line, Florida, to Anclote River, Florida
  • Storm Surge Watch: Anclote River, Florida, to Anna Maria Island, Florida (including Tampa Bay); Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina to Duck, North Carolina

Hurricane and tropical storm warnings are also in effect further inland in portions of southeastern Alabama, central and southern Georgia, and parts of the Carolinas. Flash flood watches are in place throughout the affected area, including into southern Virginia. Officials have also issued an extreme wind warning for Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Jackson, Liberty, and Washington counties; these areas could experience wind gusts in excess of 210 kph (130 mph) through the afternoon of Oct. 10.

Emergency Preparations
Life-threatening weather conditions will persist in the southeastern US through at least Oct. 11. Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 35 counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region ahead of the hurricane's landfall. The pre-landfall disaster declaration extends to the following locations in Florida: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Columbia, Hamilton, Suwanee, Lafayette, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, Citrus, Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Alachua, Union, Bradford, and Baker. State of emergency declarations have also been issued in Alabama and central and southern Georgia. South Carolina remains in a state of emergency following Hurricane Florence, and in anticipation of impacts from Hurricane Michael.

The declarations have been issued to allocate resources and facilitate coordination between local, state, and federal agencies; over 5,000 National Guard members are prepared to mobilize in Florida for response and recovery needs. Authorities have indicated that a further 30,000 emergency personnel from other states may also be deployed to assist rescue and relief efforts.

Evacuation Orders
As of Oct. 10, officials are maintaining the following voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders in Florida:

  • Bay County: Mandatory evacuations in zones A, B, and C
  • Calhoun County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for low-lying areas and mobile homes
  • Citrus County: Mandatory evacuations for zone A and mobile homes
  • Dixie County: Mandatory evacuations in coastal zone A, as well as in low-lying areas and mobile homes
  • Escambia County: Voluntary/phased evacuations in zone A, including Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, and low-lying areas of the county
  • Franklin County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Gadsden County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Gulf County: Mandatory evacuation in Cape San Blas; Indian Pass Area; Simmons Bayou (Highland View); Windmark; all areas from St. Joseph Bay to Long Avenue in Port St. Joe; St. Joe Beach and Beacon Hill - Waterside of Highway 98; all those with high-profile vehicles, living in mobile homes, low-lying areas, or anyone who feels unsafe in their current location
  • Hernando County: Voluntary/phased evacuations in coastal zones A and B
  • Jackson County: Mandatory evacuation for all mobile homes, recreational vehicle (RV) parks, and state parks
  • Jefferson County: Voluntary/phased evacuations in coastal and low-lying areas, as well as mobile homes
  • Leon County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for all mobile homes and low-lying flood-prone areas
  • Levy County: Mandatory evacuation for coastal areas
  • Liberty County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for all mobile homes, sub-standard housing, and low-lying areas
  • Madison County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for entire county
  • Okaloosa County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Pasco County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for mobile homes and low-lying flood-prone areas
  • Santa Rosa County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for all mobile home parks, campsites, and low-lying areas
  • Taylor County: Mandatory evacuation for coastal and low-lying areas
  • Wakulla County: Mandatory evacuations for coastal zone A, as well as mobile homes and other weak structures
  • Walton County: Mandatory evacuation for zones A and B
  • Washington County: Voluntary/ phased evacuations across the county

Additional evacuations are possible for other areas in the southeastern US as the hurricane moves through the region. Many emergency shelters in Florida are full; those within the landfall zone are urged to shelter in place until the worst weather conditions subside.

Hazardous Conditions
Weather conditions in the southeastern US are expected to progressively deteriorate as the hurricane transits the region through Oct. 11. The following rainfall accumulations are predicted throughout the affected area:

  • Florida Panhandle, Big Bend region, southeastern Alabama, and southern Georgia: 10-20 cm (4-8 inches); localized totals of up to 30 cm (12 inches) possible; life-threatening flash and areal flooding likely
  • Remainder of Georgia, the Carolinas, and southern Virginia: 7.5-15 cm (3-6 inches); localized totals of up to 20 cm (8 inches); life-threatening flash and areal flooding possible
  • Florida Peninsula and eastern Mid-Atlantic region: 2.5-7.5 cm (1-3 inches); localized totals of up to 10 cm (4 inches) possible

Flood-control systems throughout the region will be stressed by the water volumes, and some protection measures - such as dams and reservoirs - could fail. Areas in the Carolinas that recently experienced flooding from Hurricane Florence might be particularly susceptible to additional rises on watercourses.

Extensive storm surge inundation and coastal flooding are likely in Florida and possibly along the Atlantic coastline between Georgia and Outer Banks. The most significant storm surge is likely to occur near and to the east of where the center of circulation makes landfall. The following water levels above normal tides are possible, especially if the surge coincides with high tide:

  • Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida to Aucilla River, Florida: 2.7-4.2 meters (9-14 feet)
  • Okaloosa-Walton County Line to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida: 1.8-2.7 meters (6-9 feet)
  • Aucilla River, Florida to Cedar Key, Florida: 1.8-2.7 meters (6-9 feet)
  • Cedar Key, Florida to Chassahowitzka, Florida: 1.2-1.8 meters (4-6 feet)
  • Chassahowitzka, Florida to Anna Maria Island, Florida (including Tampa Bay): 0.6-1.2 meters (2-4 feet)
  • Sound side of the North Carolina Outer Banks (from Ocracoke Inlet toDuck): 0.6-1.2 meters (2-4 feet)

Destructive winds will be a concern throughout the region. Although the strongest hurricane-force winds will occur near the center of circulation, the wind field of the storm will be expansive. As of the system's landfall, hurricane-force winds extended approximately 75 km (45 miles) from the center of the storm, meaning that gusts in excess of 210 kph (130 mph) will be possible in parts of Franklin, Liberty, Gulf, Calhoun, and Bay counties, including the Panama City metropolitan area.

These winds will cause extensive damage even to well-built homes, including the removal of roofing and decking materials and some exterior walls. The combination of highly saturated soils and strong winds will lead to fallen trees and power lines, as well as scattered debris; utilities, including power and water, are likely to be unavailable for several days to weeks in some areas. Over 245,000 customers in the Florida Panhandle are without power as of 1500 EDT Oct. 10; the number of outages is likely to rapidly increase as the hurricane tracks through the region.

Tornadoes and waterspouts are likely throughout Florida's Gulf coastline and into Georgia and the Carolinas as Michael's rain bands come onshore. Wind speeds will decrease following landfall; however, gusts of up to 97 kph (60 mph) will remain likely throughout the southeastern US through Oct. 11.

Ground Transport
Michael will contribute to extensive ground transport disruptions over the coming days. Traffic and commercial trucking delays are highly likely on regional highways; high winds will pose a significant hazard to vehicles, and driving will be nearly impossible in the Florida Panhandle and southern Georgia for the duration of the storm. Secondary and low-lying roads will probably be inundated by floodwaters; authorities might close some roads and bridges to traffic, especially those along the coast or in frequently flooded locations in urban areas. Standing water could block some low-lying roads for several days following Michael's transit. Anticipate protracted road closures due to debris and damage for several days, especially in the landfall zone.

Air Transport
Anticipate extensive flight disruptions in the southeastern US through at least Oct. 12. Flight delays, cancellations, or temporary flight suspensions are likely at airports including - but not limited to - those serving Atlanta (ATL), Charleston (CHS), Charlotte (CLT), Columbia (CAE), Jacksonville (JAX), Mobile (MOB), Myrtle Beach (MYR), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), and Tampa (TPA) for the duration of the storm. Flights have been suspended at airports serving Destin (VPS), Panama City (ECP), Pensacola (PNS), and Tallahassee (TLH) through at least early Oct. 11, and possibly longer.

Several major US carriers are offering travel waivers for flights to, from, or through some airports in the affected area, allowing passengers to change or cancel tickets without additional fees.

Maritime Transport
Rough seas and significant storm surge will cause maritime transport disruptions throughout the Gulf of Mexico over the coming days. Officials could regulate ferry and shipping traffic at facilities between Mobile and Tampa, including in Apalachicola Harbor. As of Oct. 10, ports serving Panama City and Pensacola, and parts of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, are closed to vessel operations; the US Coast Guard has also suspended all commercial port operations from Cedar Key to Tarpon Springs in Florida until further notice. Vessel traffic could resume by Oct. 11 in these areas; however, authorities will need to survey for potential damages prior to the resumption of operations.

 

Advice

Shelter-in-place if located in the landfall zone in the Florida Panhandle. Continue to heed all coastal evacuation orders until they are lifted by authorities. Use extreme caution in low-lying coastal areas and near streams, creeks, and other waterways due to the high potential for severe flooding and storm surge. Charge battery-powered devices when electricity is available; restrict the use of cellular phones to emergencies only. Power down mobile devices when not in use. Keep important documents in waterproof containers. Observe strict food and water precautions after the storm passes, as municipalities could issue boil water advisories following flooding events.

Plan accordingly for protracted commercial, transport, and logistics disruptions in areas in the path of the storm, especially if vital infrastructure is damaged. Seek updated information on road conditions before driving or routing shipments through areas where flooding has occurred. Confirm flights before checking out of hotels or driving to the airport; clearing passenger backlogs may take several days in some locations.

 

 


October 10 | Update 5: Michael advances toward Florida Panhandle as major hurricane. Landfall near Panama City, Fla., US, likely afternoon Oct. 10.

Click above map for interactive Google Map of Hurricane Michael.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Havana
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Key West, Florida
  • Mobile, Alabama
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Tallahassee, Florida
  • Pensacola, Florida
  • Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Columbus, Georgia
  • Destin, Florida
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Panama City, Florida
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  • Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida
  • Morehead City, North Carolina
  • Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
  • Nags Head, North Carolina
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Pascagoula, Mississippi
  • Brunswick-Golden Isles, Georgia
  • Florence, South Carolina
  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Albany, Georgia
  • Macon-Warner Robins, Georgia
  • Waycross, Georgia
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Valdosta, Georgia
  • New Bern, North Carolina
  • Sanford, Florida
  • Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • Dalton, Georgia
  • Moultrie, Georgia
  • Greenville, North Carolina

This alert began 10 Oct 2018 09:09 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 Oct 2018 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Hurricane Michael
  • Center of Circulation: Gulf of Mexico, approximately 290 km (180 miles) south-southwest of Panama City, Florida
  • Maximum Sustained Winds: 110 kts (205 kph, 125 mph)
  • Affected Areas: Southeastern US (Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Carolinas)

 

Summary

Increasingly inclement weather is anticipated across the Florida Panhandle and Florida Big Bend area as Hurricane Michael draws closer in the coming hours. As of 0100 CDT Oct. 10, the system's center of circulation was located approximately 290 km (180 miles) south-southwest of Panama City, Florida. Latest forecast models indicate that Michael will likely make landfall as a major hurricane near Panama City, Florida; however, some fluctuations in the exact location are likely before it comes onshore.

Meteorologists maintain that Michael will start to weaken significantly upon interaction with land, eventually transitioning into a tropical storm as it transits Georgia and the Carolinas through Oct. 11. Long-range projections suggest that the system could reintensify after it reaches the western Atlantic Ocean around Oct. 12, though some uncertainty remains in the forecast. Michael's track and intensity will remain subject to change as it progresses over the coming days.

Weather Warnings
Regardless of where the eye comes ashore, Hurricane Michael will be large and produce adverse and potentially life-threatening weather conditions in much of the eastern Gulf Coast region and into the southeastern US. Although the storm will move quickly through the region, wind damage and flooding will threaten inland areas as the system moves to the northeast.

As of early Oct. 10, the following warnings, watches, and/or advisories have been issued in response to the hurricane:

  • Hurricane Warning: Alabama-Florida border to Suwannee River, Florida
  • Tropical Storm Warning: Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border; Suwanee River, Florida, to Chassahowitzka, Florida; north of Fernandina Beach, Florida, to South Santee River, South Carolina
  • Tropical Storm Watch: Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island, Florida (including Tampa Bay); Mississippi-Alabama border to the mouth of the Pearl River; South Santee River, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina; Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds
  • Storm Surge Warning: Okaloosa-Walton County Line, Florida, to Anclote River, Florida
  • Storm Surge Watch: Anclote River, Florida, to Anna Maria Island Florida (including Tampa Bay); Alabama-Florida border to Okaloosa-Walton County Line, Florida

Authorities will likely issue new weather warnings or update existing advisories once Michael comes onshore.

Emergency Preparations
Life-threatening weather conditions are likely in portions of the US Gulf Coast region, especially areas that are currently under watches and warnings. Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 35 counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region ahead of the hurricane's landfall. As of Oct. 9, the pre-landfall disaster declaration extends to the following locations in Florida: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Columbia, Hamilton, Suwanee, Lafayette, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, Citrus, Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Alachua, Union, Bradford, and Baker. State of emergency declarations have also been issued in Alabama and central and southern Georgia.

The declarations have been issued to allocate resources and facilitate coordination between local, state, and federal agencies; over 5,000 National Guard members are prepared to mobilize in Florida for response and recovery needs. Authorities have indicated that a further 30,000 emergency personnel from other states may also be deployed to assist rescue and relief efforts.

Evacuation Orders
As of early Oct. 10, officials are maintaining the following voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders in Florida:

  • Bay County: Mandatory evacuations in zones A, B, and C
  • Calhoun County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for entire county
  • Citrus County: Mandatory evacuations for entire county
  • Dixie County: Mandatory evacuations in coastal zone A, as well as in low-lying areas and mobile homes
  • Escambia County: Voluntary/phased evacuations in zone A, including Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, and low-lying areas of the county
  • Franklin County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Gadsden County: Mandatory evacuation for all mobile homes
  • Gulf County: Mandatory evacuation in Cape San Blas; Indian Pass Area; Simmons Bayou (Highland View); Windmark; all areas from St. Joseph Bay to Long Avenue in Port St. Joe; St. Joe Beach and Beacon Hill - Waterside of Highway 98; all those with high-profile vehicles, living in mobile homes, low-lying areas, or anyone who feels unsafe in their current location
  • Hernando County: Voluntary/phased evacuations in coastal zones A and B
  • Jackson County: Mandatory evacuation for all mobile homes, recreational vehicle (RV) parks, and state parks
  • Jefferson County: Voluntary/phased evacuations in coastal and low-lying areas, as well as mobile homes
  • Leon County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for all mobile homes and low-lying flood-prone areas
  • Levy County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Liberty County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for all mobile homes, sub-standard housing, and low-lying areas
  • Madison County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for entire county
  • Okaloosa County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Pasco County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for entire county
  • Santa Rosa County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for all mobile home parks, campsites, and low-lying areas
  • Taylor County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Wakulla County: Mandatory evacuations for coastal zone A, as well as mobile homes and other weak structures
  • Walton County: Mandatory evacuation for zones A and B
  • Washington County: Voluntary/ phased evacuations across the county

Additional evacuations are possible for other coastal counties in Florida, as well as elsewhere in the southeastern US, as the hurricane draws closer.

Hazardous Conditions
Weather conditions in southeastern US are expected to progressively diminish as the hurricane makes landfall on Oct. 10. The following rainfall accumulations are predicted throughout the affected area:

  • Florida Panhandle, Big Bend region, southeastern Alabama, and southern Georgia: 10-20 cm (4-8 inches); localized totals of up to 30 cm (12 inches) possible; life-threatening flash and areal flooding likely
  • Eastern Georgia and the Carolinas: 7.5-15 cm (3-6 inches); life-threatening flash and areal flooding possible
  • Florida Panhandle, Florida Keys, Mid-Atlantic region: 2.5-7.5 cm (1-3 inches); localized totals of up to 10 cm (4 inches) possible

Flood-control systems throughout the region will be stressed by the water volumes, and some protection measures - such as dams and reservoirs - could fail. Areas in the Carolinas that recently experienced flooding from Hurricane Florence might be particularly susceptible to additional rises on watercourses.

Extensive storm surge inundation and coastal flooding are likely in Florida and possibly Alabama. The most significant storm surge is likely to occur near and to the east of where the center of circulation makes landfall. The following water levels above normal tides are possible, especially if the surge coincides with high tide:

  • Mexico Beach to Keaton Beach, Florida: 2.7-3.9 meters (9-13 feet)
  • Okaloosa-Walton County Line to Mexico Beach, Florida: 1.8-2.7 meters (6-9 feet)
  • Keaton Beach to Cedar Key, Florida: 1.8-2.7 meters (6-9 feet)
  • Cedar Key to Chassahowitzka, Florida: 1.2-1.8 meters (4-6 feet)
  • Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island (including Tampa Bay), Florida: 0.6-1.2 meters (2-4 feet)
  • Alabama-Florida border to the Okaloosa-Walton County Line: 0.6-1.2 meters (2-4 feet)

Destructive winds will be a concern throughout the region. Although the strongest hurricane-force winds will occur near the center of circulation, the wind field of the storm could be expansive. As of early Oct. 10, hurricane-force winds extend approximately 75 km (45 miles) from the center of the storm, meaning that gusts in excess of 210 kph (130 mph) will be possible in parts of Franklin, Liberty, Gulf, Calhoun, and Bay counties, including the Panama City metropolitan area, if the forecast track holds true.

These winds can cause extensive damage even to well-built homes, including the removal of roofing and decking materials. The combination of highly saturated soils and strong winds will lead to fallen trees and power lines, as well as scattered debris; utilities, including power and water, are unlikely to be available for several days to weeks in some areas. Tornadoes and waterspouts are likely throughout Florida's Gulf coastline and into Georgia and the Carolinas as Michael's rain bands come onshore. Wind speeds will decrease following landfall; however, gusts of up to 97 kph (60 mph) will remain likely throughout the southeastern US through Oct. 11.

Ground Transport
Michael will contribute to extensive ground transport disruptions over the coming days. Traffic and commercial trucking delays are highly likely on regional highways; high winds will pose a significant hazard to vehicles, and travel bans could be instituted as the hurricane makes landfall in Florida. Secondary and low-lying roads will probably be inundated by floodwaters; authorities might close some roads and bridges to traffic, especially those along the coast or in frequently flooded locations in urban areas. Standing water could block some low-lying roads for several days following Michael's transit.

Air Transport
Anticipate extensive flight disruptions in the southeastern US through at least Oct. 12. Flight delays, cancellations, or temporary flight suspensions are possible at airports including - but not limited to - those serving Atlanta (ATL), Charleston (CHS), Charlotte (CLT), Columbia (CAE), Jacksonville (JAX), Mobile (MOB), Myrtle Beach (MYR), Panama City (ECP), Pensacola (PNS), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), Tallahassee (TLH), and Tampa (TPA) for the duration of the storm.

Several major US carriers have started to offer travel waivers for flights to, from, or through some airports in the affected area, allowing passengers to change or cancel tickets without additional fees.

Maritime Transport
Rough seas and significant storm surge will cause maritime transport disruptions throughout the Gulf of Mexico over the coming days. Officials could regulate ferry and shipping traffic at facilities between Mobile and Tampa, including in Apalachicola Harbor. As of Oct. 9, ports serving Panama City and Pensacola are closed to vessel operations; the US Coast Guard has also suspended all commercial port operations from Cedar Key to Tarpon Springs in Florida until further notice. It could take several days for shipping operations to normalize following the passage of Hurricane Michael.

 

Advice

Activate contingency plans in areas where hurricane or tropical storm conditions are forecast. Heed all coastal evacuation orders. Use extreme caution in low-lying coastal areas and near streams, creeks, and other waterways due to the high potential for severe flooding and storm surge. Stockpile water, batteries, and other essentials in advance. Charge battery-powered devices when electricity is available; restrict the use of cellular phones to emergencies only. Power down mobile devices when not in use. Keep important documents in waterproof containers. Observe strict food and water precautions after the storm passes, as municipalities could issue boil water advisories following flooding events.

Plan accordingly for protracted commercial, transport, and logistics disruptions in areas in the path of the storm, especially if vital infrastructure is damaged. Seek updated information on road conditions before driving or routing shipments through areas where flooding has occurred. Confirm flights before checking out of hotels or driving to the airport; clearing passenger backlogs may take several days in some locations.

 


October 9 | Update 4: Michael continues to intensify late Oct. 9. Landfall forecast near Panama City, Fla., US, afternoon Oct. 10, as major hurricane.

Click above map for interactive Google Map of Hurricane Michael.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Havana
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Key West, Florida
  • Mobile, Alabama
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Tallahassee, Florida
  • Pensacola, Florida
  • Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Columbus, Georgia
  • Destin, Florida
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Panama City, Florida
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  • Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida
  • Morehead City, North Carolina
  • Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
  • Nags Head, North Carolina
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Pascagoula, Mississippi
  • Brunswick-Golden Isles, Georgia
  • Florence, South Carolina
  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Albany, Georgia
  • Macon-Warner Robins, Georgia
  • Waycross, Georgia
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Valdosta, Georgia
  • New Bern, North Carolina
  • Sanford, Florida
  • Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • Dalton, Georgia
  • Moultrie, Georgia
  • Greenville, North Carolina

This alert began 09 Oct 2018 20:09 GMT and is scheduled to expire 12 Oct 2018 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Hurricane Michael
  • Center of Circulation: Gulf of Mexico, approximately 540 km (335 miles) south of Panama City, Florida
  • Maximum Sustained Winds: 95
    kts (175 kph, 110 mph)
  • Projected Landfall (Date): Near Panama City, Florida (afternoon Oct. 10)
  • Affected Area: Southeastern US (Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Carolinas)

 

Summary

Hurricane Michael has strengthened to a strong Category 2 storm in the eastern Gulf of Mexico the afternoon of Oct. 9. As of 1400 EDT, the hurricane's center of circulation was approximately 540 km (335 miles) south of Panama City, Florida. The system is expected to continue strengthening over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and is predicted to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle as a major Category 3 hurricane by the afternoon of Oct. 10. Forecast models indicate that Michael will weaken upon interaction with land as it quickly moves to the northeast; however, it will likely remain at tropical storm intensity as it transits Georgia and the Carolinas through Oct. 11.

Current models suggest that the center of the hurricane could make landfall near Panama City; some fluctuations in the exact location are likely prior to landfall. Regardless of where the eye comes ashore; the hurricane will be large and produce adverse and potentially life-threatening weather conditions in much of the eastern Gulf Coast region and into the southeastern US. Although the storm will move quickly through the region, wind damage and flooding will threaten inland areas as the system moves to the northeast. The system could restrengthen as an extratropical cyclone as it moves off the Atlantic coast of North Carolina, Oct. 12; however, limited land impacts are expected after this date.

Weather Warnings
As of Oct. 9, the following warnings, watches, and/or advisories have been issued in response to the hurricane:

  • Hurricane Warning: Alabama-Florida border to Suwannee River, Florida
  • Tropical Storm Warning: Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border; Suwanee River, Florida, to Chassahowitzka, Florida
  • Tropical Storm Watch: Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island, Florida (including Tampa Bay); Mississippi-Alabama border to the mouth of the Pearl River; Fernandina Beach, Florida, to South Santee River, South Carolina
  • Storm Surge Warning: Okaloosa-Walton County Line, Florida, to Anclote River, Florida
  • Storm Surge Watch: Anclote River, Florida, to Anna Maria Island Florida (including Tampa Bay); Alabama-Florida border to Okaloosa-Walton County Line, Florida

Hurricane warnings and tropical storm watches and warnings also extend inland into parts of southern Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Emergency Preparations
Life-threatening weather conditions are likely in portions of the US Gulf Coast region, especially areas that are currently under watches and warnings. Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 35 counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region ahead of the hurricane's landfall. As of Oct. 9, the pre-landfall disaster declaration extends to the following locations in Florida: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Columbia, Hamilton, Suwanee, Lafayette, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, Citrus, Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Alachua, Union, Bradford, and Baker. State of emergency declarations have also been issued in Alabama and central and southern Georgia.

The declarations have been issued to allocate resources and facilitate coordination between local, state, and federal agencies; over 5,000 National Guard members are prepared to mobilize in Florida for response and recovery needs. Authorities have indicated that a further 30,000 emergency personnel from other states may also be deployed to assist rescue and relief efforts.

Evacuation Orders
As of the afternoon of Oct. 9, officials have issued the following voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders in Florida:

  • Bay County: Mandatory evacuations in zones A, B, and C
  • Calhoun County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for entire county
  • Citrus County: Mandatory evacuations in zone A, as well as mobile homes
  • Dixie County: Mandatory evacuations in coastal zone A, as well as in low-lying areas and mobile homes
  • Escambia County: Voluntary/phased evacuations in zone A, including Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, and low-lying areas of the county
  • Franklin County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Gadsden County: Voluntary/phased evacuations in low-lying areas and mobile homes
  • Gulf County: Mandatory evacuation in Cape San Blas; Indian Pass Area; Simmons Bayou (Highland View); Windmark; all areas from St. Joseph Bay to Long Avenue in Port St. Joe; St. Joe Beach and Beacon Hill- Waterside of Highway 98; all those with high-profile vehicles, living in mobile homes, low-lying areas, or anyone who feels unsafe in their current location
  • Hernando County: Voluntary/phased evacuations in coastal zones A and B
  • Jackson County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Jefferson County: Voluntary/phased evacuations in coastal and low-lying areas, as well as mobile homes
  • Leon County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for all mobile homes and low-lying flood prone areas
  • Levy County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Liberty County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for all mobile homes, sub-standard housing, and low-lying areas
  • Madison County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for entire county
  • Okaloosa County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Pasco County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for entire county
  • Santa Rosa County: Voluntary/phased evacuations for all mobile home parks, campsites, and low-lying areas
  • Taylor County: Mandatory evacuation for entire county
  • Walton County: Mandatory evacuation for zones A and B
  • Wukulla County: Mandatory evacuations for coastal zone A, as well as low-lying areas and mobile homes

Additional evacuations are possible for other coastal counties in Florida, as well as elsewhere in the southeastern US, as the hurricane draws closer.

Hazardous Conditions
Weather conditions are expected to start deteriorating in the southeastern US starting the evening of Oct. 9 and progressively diminish as the hurricane makes landfall on Oct. 10. The following rainfall accumulations are predicted throughout the affected area:

  • Florida Panhandle, Big Bend region, southeastern Alabama, and southern Georgia: 10-20 cm (4-8 inches); localized totals of up to 30 cm (12 inches) possible; life-threatening flash and areal flooding likely
  • Eastern Georgia and the Carolinas: 7.5-15 cm (3-6 inches); life-threatening flash and areal flooding possible
  • Florida Panhandle, Florida Keys, Mid-Atlantic region: 2.5-7.5 cm (1-3 inches); localized totals of up to 10 cm (4 inches) possible

Flood-control systems throughout the region will be stressed by the water volumes, and some protection measures - such as dams and reservoirs - could fail. Areas in the Carolinas that recently experienced flooding from Hurricane Florence might be particularly susceptible to additional rises on watercourses.

Extensive storm surge inundation and coastal flooding are likely in Florida and possibly Alabama. The most significant storm surge is likely to occur near and to the east of where the center of circulation makes landfall. The following water levels above normal tides are possible, especially if the surge coincides with high tide:

  • Indian Pass to Cedar Key, Florida: 2.4-3.6 meters (8-12 feet)
  • Cedar Key to Crystal River, Florida: 1.8-3.6 meters (6-8 feet)
  • Okaloosa-Walton County Line to Indian Pass, Florida: 1.8-2.7 meters (6-9 feet)
  • Crystal River to Aripeka, Florida: 1.2-1.8 meters (4-6 feet)
  • Aripeka, Florida, to Anna Maria Island (including Tampa Bay), Florida: 0.6-1.2 meters (2-4 feet)
  • Alabama-Florida border to the Okaloosa-Walton County Line: 0.6-1.2 meters (2-4 feet)

Destructive winds will be a concern throughout the region. Although the strongest hurricane-force winds will occur near the center of circulation, the wind field of the storm could be expansive. As of Oct. 9, hurricane-force winds extend approximately 55 km (35 miles) from the center of the storm, meaning that gusts in excess of 175 kph (110 mph) will be possible in parts of Franklin, Liberty, Gulf, Calhoun, and Bay counties, including the Panama City metropolitan area, if the forecast track holds true.

These winds can cause extensive damage even to well-built homes, including the removal of roofing and decking materials. The combination of highly saturated soils and strong winds will lead to fallen trees and power lines, as well as scattered debris; utilities, including power and water, are unlikely to be available for several days to weeks in some areas. Tornadoes and waterspouts are likely throughout Florida's Gulf coastline and into Georgia and the Carolinas as Michael's rain bands come onshore. Wind speeds will decrease following landfall; however, gusts of up to 97 kph (60 mph) will remain likely throughout the southeastern US through Oct. 11.

Ground Transport
Michael will contribute to extensive ground transport disruptions over the coming days. Traffic and commercial trucking delays are highly likely on regional highways; high winds will pose a significant hazard to vehicles, and travel bans could be instituted as the hurricane makes landfall in Florida. Secondary and low-lying roads will probably be inundated by floodwaters; authorities might close some roads and bridges to traffic, especially those along the coast or in frequently flooded locations in urban areas. Standing water could block some low-lying roads for several days following Michael's transit.

Air Transport
Anticipate extensive flight disruptions in the southeastern US, possibly starting as early as late Oct. 9. Flight delays, cancellations, or temporary flight suspensions are possible at airports including - but not limited to - those serving Atlanta (ATL), Charleston (CHS), Charlotte (CLT), Columbia (CAE), Jacksonville (JAX), Mobile (MOB), Myrtle Beach (MYR), Panama City (ECP), Pensacola (PNS), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), Tallahassee (TLH), and Tampa (TPA) for the duration of the storm.

Several major US carriers have started to offer travel waivers for flights to, from, or through some airports in the affected area, allowing passengers to change or cancel tickets without additional fees.

Maritime Transport
Rough seas and significant storm surge will cause maritime transport disruptions throughout the Gulf of Mexico over the coming days. Officials could regulate ferry and shipping traffic at facilities between Mobile and Tampa, including in Apalachicola Harbor. As of Oct. 9, ports serving Panama City and Pensacola are closed to vessel operations; the US Coast Guard has also suspended all commercial port operations from Cedar Key to Tarpon Springs in Florida until further notice. It could take several days for shipping operations to normalize following the passage of Hurricane Michael.

 

Advice

Activate contingency plans in areas where hurricane or tropical storm conditions are forecast. Heed all coastal evacuation orders. Use extreme caution in low-lying coastal areas and near streams, creeks, and other waterways due to the high potential for severe flooding and storm surge. Stockpile water, batteries, and other essentials in advance. Charge battery-powered devices when electricity is available; restrict the use of cellular phones to emergencies only. Power down mobile devices when not in use. Keep important documents in waterproof containers. Observe strict food and water precautions after the storm passes, as municipalities could issue boil water advisories following flooding events.

Plan accordingly for protracted commercial, transport, and logistics disruptions in areas in the path of the storm, especially if vital infrastructure is damaged. Seek updated information on road conditions before driving or routing shipments through areas where flooding has occurred. Confirm flights before checking out of hotels or driving to the airport; clearing passenger backlogs may take several days in some locations.

 

 


October 9 | Update 3: Michael continues to strengthen as it transits the Gulf of Mexico Oct. 9. Possible landfall on Florida Panhandle, US, Oct. 10.

Click above map for interactive Google Map of Hurricane Michael.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Havana
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Key West, Florida
  • Mobile, Alabama
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Tallahassee, Florida
  • Pensacola, Florida
  • Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Columbus, Georgia
  • Destin, Florida
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Panama City, Florida
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  • Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida
  • Morehead City, North Carolina
  • Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
  • Nags Head, North Carolina
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Pascagoula, Mississippi
  • Brunswick-Golden Isles, Georgia
  • Florence, South Carolina
  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Albany, Georgia
  • Macon-Warner Robins, Georgia
  • Waycross, Georgia
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Valdosta, Georgia
  • New Bern, North Carolina
  • Sanford, Florida
  • Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • Dalton, Georgia
  • Moultrie, Georgia
  • Greenville, North Carolina

Affected Areas: Southeastern US (Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Carolinas); northwestern Cuba

This alert began 09 Oct 2018 11:38 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 Oct 2018 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Hurricane Michael
  • Center of Circulation: Gulf of Mexico, approximately 680 km (420 miles) south of Panama City, Florida, US
  • Maximum Sustained Winds: 80 kts (150 kph, 90 mph)
  • Projected Landfall (Date): Florida Panhandle or Big Bend region, US (Oct. 10)
Summary

Hurricane Michael continues to strengthen as it advances northwards in the southern Gulf of Mexico, Oct. 9. As of 0400 CDT, the system's center of circulation was located approximately 680 km (420 miles) south of Panama City, Florida, US. Meteorologists predict that Michael will transition into a major hurricane within the next 24 hours, potentially making landfall on the Florida Panhandle or Big Bend region as a Category 3 storm around Oct. 10.

Once Michael moves onshore, long-range models suggest that the system will move northeastward over parts of Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas Oct. 10-12. Although the hurricane is set to gradually weaken as it interacts with land, further projections indicate that Michael could intensify again once it enters the North Atlantic Ocean (off the northern coast of North Carolina) around Oct. 12. However, significant changes to the forecast track, intensity, and landfall remain likely over the coming days.

Weather Warnings
As of early Oct. 9, the following warnings, watches, and/or advisories have been issued in response to the storm:

  • Hurricane Warning: Alabama-Florida border to Suwannee River, Florida
  • Hurricane Watch: Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border
  • Tropical Storm Warning: Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border; Suwanee River, Florida, to Chassahowitzka, Florida, Pinar del Rio Province (Cuba)
  • Tropical Storm Watch: Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island, Florida (including Tampa Bay); Mississippi-Alabama border to the Mouth of the Pearl River; Fernandina Beach, Florida, to South Santee River, South Carolina
  • Storm Surge Warning: Okaloosa-Walton County Line, Florida, to Anclote River, Florida
  • Storm Surge Watch: Anclote River, Florida, to Anna Maria Island Florida (including Tampa Bay); Alabama-Florida border to Okaloosa-Walton County Line, Florida

Emergency Preparations
Life-threatening weather conditions are likely in portions of the US Gulf Coast region, especially areas that are currently under coastal watches and warnings. Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 35 counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region in anticipation of a landfalling hurricane. As of early Oct. 9, the pre-landfall disaster declaration extends to the following locations in Florida: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Columbia, Hamilton, Suwanee, Lafayette, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, Citrus, Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Alachua, Union, Bradford and Baker. A similar emergency declaration has been active across the state of Alabama since late Oct. 8.

The State Emergency Operations Center has been activated to facilitate coordination between local, state, and federal agencies; over 5,000 National Guard members are prepared to mobilize for response and recovery needs. Authorities have indicated that a further 30,000 emergency personnel from other states may also be deployed to assist rescue and relief efforts.

Evacuation Orders
As of the morning of Oct. 9, officials have issued the following evacuation orders and/or advisories across Florida:

  • Bay County: Mandatory evacuations in zones A, B, and C
  • Calhoun County: Voluntary/ phased evacuations in place
  • Dixie County: Mandatory evacuations in coastal zone A, as well as in low-lying areas and mobile homes
  • Franklin County: Mandatory evacuations for all non-residents
  • Gadsden County: Voluntary/ phased evacuations in low-lying areas and mobile homes
  • Gulf County: Mandatory evacuation in Cape San Blas; Indian Pass Area; Simmons Bayou (Highland View); Windmark; all areas from St. Joseph Bay to Long Avenue in Port St. Joe; St. Joe Beach and Beacon Hill- Waterside of Highway 98; all those with high-profile vehicles, living in mobile homes, low-lying areas, or anyone who feels unsafe in their current location
  • Hernando County: Voluntary/phased evacuations in coastal zones A and B
  • Jackson County: Mandatory evacuations orders in place
  • Jefferson County: Voluntary/ phased evacuations in coastal and low-lying areas, as well as mobile homes
  • Leon County: Voluntary/ phased evacuations for all mobile homes and low-lying flood prone areas
  • Levy County: Mandatory evacuations in place
  • Liberty County: Voluntary/ phased evacuations for all mobile homes, sub-standard housing, and low-lying areas
  • Okaloosa County: Mandatory evacuations in place
  • Pasco County: Voluntary/ phased evacuations in place
  • Santa Rosa County: Voluntary/ phased evacuations for all mobile home parks, campsites, and low-lying areas
  • Taylor County: Voluntary/ phased evacuations for all mobile home parks, campsites, and low-lying areas
  • Wukulla County: Mandatory evacuations for coastal zone A, as well as low-lying areas and mobile homes.

Additional evacuations are likely for other coastal counties in Florida, as well as elsewhere in the southeastern US, as the hurricane draws closer.

Hazardous Conditions
Adverse weather conditions produced by Michael will likely continue in parts of the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba through Oct. 9. Weather conditions will likely start to deteriorate in the southeastern US from Oct. 10. The following rainfall accumulations are predicted throughout the affected area:

  • Western Cuba: 10-20 cm (4-8 inches); localized totals of up to 30 cm (12 inches) possible; life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides likely
  • Florida Panhandle, Big Bend region, southern Georgia, and Carolinas: 10-20 cm (4-8 inches); localized totals of up to 30 cm (12 inches) possible; life-threatening flash and areal flooding likely
  • Florida Panhandle, Florida Keys, Mid-Atlantic region: 5-10 cm (2-4 inches); localized totals of up to 15 cm (6 inches) possible; flash flooding possible
  • Yucatan Peninsula: 2.5-5 cm (1-2 inches)

Flood-control systems throughout the region will be stressed by the water volumes, and some protection measures - such as dams and reservoirs - could fail. Areas in the Carolinas that recently experienced flooding from Hurricane Florence might be particularly susceptible to additional rises on watercourses.

Extensive storm surge inundation and coastal flooding are likely in Florida and possibly Alabama. The most significant storm surge is likely to occur near and to the east of where the center of circulation makes landfall. The following water levels above normal tides are possible, especially if the surge coincides with high tide:

  • Indian Pass to Cedar Key, Florida: 2.4-3.6 meters (8-12 feet)
  • Cedar Key to Crystal River, Florida: 1.8-3.6 meters 6-8 feet)
  • Okaloosa-Walton County Line to Indian Pass, Florida: 1.8-2.7 meters (6-9 feet)
  • Crystal River to Anclote River, Florida: 1.2-1.8 meters (4-6 feet)
  • Anclote River to Anna Maria Island (including Tampa Bay), Florida: 0.6-1.2 meters (2-4 feet)
  • Alabama-Florida border to the Okaloosa-Walton County Line: 0.6-1.2 meters (2-4 feet)

Destructive winds will be a concern throughout the Florida Panhandle. Although the strongest hurricane-force winds will occur near the center of circulation, the wind field of the storm could be expansive. Winds associated with a major hurricane can cause extensive damage even to well-built homes, including the removal of roofing and decking materials. The combination of highly saturated soils and strong winds will lead to fallen trees and power lines, as well as scatter debris; utilities, including power and water, are unlikely to be available for several days in some areas. Tornadoes and waterspouts are likely throughout Florida's Gulf coastline as Michael's rain bands come onshore.

Ground Transport
Michael will contribute to extensive ground transport disruptions over the coming days. Traffic and commercial trucking delays are highly likely on regional highways; high winds will pose a significant hazard to vehicles, and travel bans could be instituted as the hurricane makes landfall in Florida. Secondary and low-lying roads will probably be inundated by floodwaters; authorities might close some roads and bridges to traffic, especially those along the coast or in frequently flooded locations of urban areas. Standing water could block some low-lying roads for several days following Michael's transit.

Air Transport
Flight delays and cancellations could persist at airports serving Cancun (CUN), Cozumel (CZM), and Havana (HAV) through at least Oct. 9. Disruptions will probably start in the southeastern US by Oct. 10. Flight delays, cancellations, or temporary flight suspensions are possible at airports including - but not limited to - those serving Atlanta (ATL), Charleston (CHS), Charlotte (CLT), Columbia (CAE), Jacksonville (JAX), Mobile (MOB), Myrtle Beach (MYR), Panama City (ECP), Pensacola (PNS), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), Tallahassee (TLH), and Tampa (TPA).

Southwest Airlines (WN) has already started to offer travel waivers for flights to, from, or through some airports in the affected area; other major US carriers will likely issue similar waivers in the coming days to allow passengers to change or cancel tickets without additional fees.

Maritime Transport
Rough seas and significant storm surge will cause maritime transport disruptions throughout the Gulf of Mexico over the coming days. Officials could regulate ferry and shipping traffic at facilities between Mobile and Tampa, including in Apalachicola Harbor. It could take several days for shipping operations to regulate following the passage of Hurricane Michael.

 

Advice

Activate contingency plans in areas where hurricane or tropical storm conditions are forecast. Heed all coastal evacuation orders. Use extreme caution in low-lying coastal areas, and near streams, creeks, and other waterways due to the high potential for severe flooding and storm surge. Stockpile water, batteries, and other essentials in advance. Charge battery-powered devices when electricity is available; restrict the use of cellular phones to emergencies only. Power down mobile devices when not in use. Keep important documents in waterproof containers. Observe strict food and water precautions after the storm passes, as municipalities could issue boil water advisories following flooding events.

Plan accordingly for protracted commercial, transport, and logistics disruptions in areas in the path of the storm, especially if vital infrastructure is damaged. Seek updated information on road conditions before driving or routing shipments through areas where flooding has occurred. Confirm flights before checking out of hotels or driving to the airport; clearing passenger backlogs may take several days in some locations.

 


October 8 | Update 2: Michael strengthens to a hurricane near the Yucatan Channel, Oct. 8. Watches and warnings ongoing in Cuba, Mexico, and the US.

Click above map for interactive Google Map of Hurricane Michael.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Havana
  • Cancun
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Key West, Florida
  • Mobile, Alabama
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Tallahassee, Florida
  • Pensacola, Florida
  • Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Columbus, Georgia
  • Destin, Florida
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Panama City, Florida
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  • Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida
  • Morehead City, North Carolina
  • Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
  • Nags Head, North Carolina
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Cozumel
  • Pascagoula, Mississippi
  • Brunswick-Golden Isles, Georgia
  • Florence, South Carolina
  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Albany, Georgia
  • Macon-Warner Robins, Georgia
  • Waycross, Georgia
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Valdosta, Georgia
  • New Bern, North Carolina
  • Sanford, Florida
  • Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • Dalton, Georgia
  • Moultrie, Georgia
  • Greenville, North Carolina

Affected Areas: Yucatan Peninsula; western Cuba; southeastern US (Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Carolinas)

This alert began 08 Oct 2018 18:11 GMT and is scheduled to expire 12 Oct 2018 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Hurricane Michael
  • Center of Circulation: Yucatan Channel, approximately 190 km (120 miles) east of Cancun, Mexico; approximately 1,000 km (620 miles) south of Panama City, Florida
  • Maximum Sustained Winds: 65 kts (120 kph, 75 mph)
  • Projected Landfall (Date): Close approach to southwestern Pinar del Rio Province, Cuba (Oct. 8); Florida Panhandle, possibly near Indian Pass (late Oct. 10)
Summary

Michael has strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane near the Yucatan Channel the morning of Oct. 8. As of 1100 EDT, the system's center of circulation was approximately 190 km (120 miles) east of Cancun, Mexico, and about 1,000 km (620 miles) south of Panama City, Florida. Hurricane Michael will continue to track to the north-northwest, making a close approach to far southwestern Pinar del Rio Province, Cuba, over the coming hours. Upon entering the Gulf of Mexico, Michael is expected to continue strengthening, possibly reaching major Category 3 strength by the evening of Oct. 9. Because of warm water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, the system might be able to sustain this intensity as it approaches the Florida Panhandle and the Big Bend region on Oct. 10.

The center of circulation has the potential to come ashore between Okaloosa and Taylor counties late Oct. 10, with a current projected landfall near Indian Pass. Anticipate changes in the forecasted track and intensity as the system enters and traverses the Gulf of Mexico over the coming days.

Weather Warnings
As of Oct. 8, the following warnings, watches, and/or advisories have been issued in response to the storm:

  • Hurricane Warning: Pinar del Rio, Cuba
  • Hurricane Watch: Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida
  • Tropical Storm Warning: Isle of Youth, Cuba; Tulum to Cabo Catoche, Mexico (including Cozumel)
  • Tropical Storm Watch: Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, Florida (including Tampa Bay)
  • Storm Surge Watch: Navarre, Florida, to Anna Maria Island, Florida (including Tampa Bay)

Emergency Preparations
Life-threatening weather conditions are likely in portions of the US Gulf Coast region, especially areas that are currently under coastal watches and warnings. Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 26 counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region in anticipation of a landfalling hurricane. The State Emergency Operations Center has been activated to facilitate coordination between local, state, and federal agencies; over 5,000 National Guard members are prepared to mobilize for response and recovery needs.

As of the morning of Oct. 8, officials in Gulf County, Florida, have issued mandatory evacuations for Cape San Blas, Indian Pass, Simmons Bayou, Highland View, Windmark, St. Joseph Bay to Long Avenue (in Port St. Joe), St. Joe Beach and Beacon Hill, and low-lying flood-prone areas and mobile homes. Individuals are being told to evacuate from these areas by 1000 Oct. 9. Additional evacuations are likely for other coastal counties in Florida in the coming hours and days as the hurricane approaches.

Hazardous Conditions
Adverse weather conditions will continue in parts of the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba through the day Oct. 8. The strongest winds, gusting up to hurricane-force, will be possible in southwestern Pinar del Rio Province, Cuba; tropical storm-force winds could occur throughout the northwestern Caribbean region into the evening hours. Weather conditions will likely start to deteriorate in the southeastern US beginning early Oct. 10. The following rainfall accumulations are predicted throughout the affected area:

  • Western Cuba: 10-20 cm (4-8 inches); localized totals of up to 30 cm (12 inches) possible; life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides likely
  • Florida Panhandle, Big Bend region, southern Georgia, and Carolinas: 10-20 cm (4-8 inches); localized totals of up to 30 cm (12 inches) possible; life-threatening flash and areal flooding likely
  • Florida Panhandle, Florida Keys, Mid-Atlantic region: 5-10 cm (2-4 inches); localized totals of up to 15 cm (6 inches) possible; flash flooding possible
  • Yucatan Peninsula: 2.5-5 cm (1-2 inches)

Flood-control systems throughout the region will be stressed by the water volumes, and some protection measures - such as dams and reservoirs - could fail. Areas in the Carolinas that recently experienced flooding from Hurricane Florence might be particularly susceptible to additional rises on watercourses.

Extensive storm surge inundation and coastal flooding are likely in Florida and possibly Alabama. The most significant storm surge is likely to occur near and to the east of where the center of circulation makes landfall. The following water levels above normal tides are possible, especially if the surge coincides with high tide:

  • Indian Pass to Crystal River: 2.4-3.6 meters (8-12 feet)
  • Okaloosa-Walton County Line to Indian Pass: 1.5-2.4 meters (5-8 feet)
  • Crystal River to Anclote River: 1.2-1.8 meters (4-6 feet)
  • Anclote River to Anna Maria Island (including Tampa Bay): 0.6-1.2 meters (2-4 feet)
  • Navarre to the Okaloosa-Walton County Line: 0.6-1.2 meters (2-4 feet)

Destructive winds will be a concern throughout the Florida Panhandle. Although the strongest hurricane-force winds will occur near the center of circulation, the wind field of the storm could be expansive. Winds associated with a major hurricane can cause extensive damage even to well-built homes, including the removal of roofing and decking materials. The combination of highly saturated soils and strong winds will lead to fallen trees and power lines, as well as scatter debris; utilities, including power and water, are unlikely to be available for several days in some areas. Tornadoes and waterspouts are likely throughout Florida's Gulf coastline as Michael's rain bands come onshore.

Ground Transport
Michael will contribute to extensive ground transport disruptions over the coming days. Traffic and commercial trucking delays are highly likely on regional highways; high winds will pose a significant hazard to vehicles, and travel bans could be instituted as the hurricane makes landfall in Florida. Secondary and low-lying roads will probably be inundated by floodwaters; authorities might close some roads and bridges to traffic, especially those along the coast or in frequently flooded locations of urban areas. Standing water could block some low-lying roads for several days following Michael's transit.

Air Transport
Flight delays and cancellations could persist at airports serving Cancun (CUN), Cozumel (CZM), and Havana (HAV) through at least Oct. 8. Disruptions will probably start in the southeastern US by Oct. 10. Flight delays, cancellations, or temporary flight suspensions are possible at airports including - but not limited to - those serving Atlanta (ATL), Charleston (CHS), Charlotte (CLT), Columbia (CAE), Jacksonville (JAX), Mobile (MOB), Myrtle Beach (MYR), Panama City (ECP), Pensacola (PNS), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), Tallahassee (TLH), and Tampa (TPA).

Southwest Airlines (WN) has already started to offer travel waivers for flights to, from, or through some airports in the affected area; other major US carriers will likely issue similar waivers in the coming days to allow passengers to change or cancel tickets without additional fees.

Maritime Transport
Rough seas and significant storm surge will cause maritime transport disruptions throughout the Gulf of Mexico over the coming days. Officials could regulate ferry and shipping traffic at facilities between Mobile and Tampa, including in Apalachicola Harbor. It could take several days for shipping operations to regulate following the passage of Hurricane Michael.

 

Advice

Activate contingency plans in areas where hurricane or tropical storm conditions are forecast. Heed all coastal evacuation orders. Use extreme caution in low-lying coastal areas, and near streams, creeks, and other waterways due to the high potential for severe flooding and storm surge. Stockpile water, batteries, and other essentials in advance. Charge battery-powered devices when electricity is available; restrict the use of cellular phones to emergencies only. Power down mobile devices when not in use. Keep important documents in waterproof containers. Observe strict food and water precautions after the storm passes, as municipalities could issue boil water advisories following flooding events.

Plan accordingly for protracted commercial, transport, and logistics disruptions in areas in the path of the storm, especially if vital infrastructure is damaged. Seek updated information on road conditions before driving or routing shipments through areas where flooding has occurred. Confirm flights before checking out of hotels or driving to the airport; clearing passenger backlogs may take several days in some
locations.

 


 

October 7 | Update 1: Potential Cyclone 14 strengthens to TS Michael off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Oct. 7. Landfall possible near Cozumel, Oct. 8.

Click above map for interactive Google Map of Hurricane Michael.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Havana
  • Belize City
  • San Pedro Sula
  • Cancun
  • Pensacola, Florida
  • Cozumel
  • Ciudad del Carmen
  • Merida
  • Cienfuegos

Affected Areas: Yucatan Peninsula, western Cuba, US Gulf Coast

This alert began 07 Oct 2018 22:02 GMT and is scheduled to expire 10 Oct 2018 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Tropical Storm Michael
  • Center of Circulation: Northwestern Caribbean Sea, about 145 km (90 miles) south of Cozumel, Mexico
  • Maximum Sustained Winds: 30 kts (65 kph, 40 mph)
  • Projected Landfall (Date): Close approach or landfall near Cozumel, Mexico (Oct. 8); possible second landfall near Pensacola, Fla., US (Oct. 10)
Summary

Potential Tropical Cyclone 14 intensified into Tropical Storm Michael in the northwestern Caribbean Sea off the Yucatan Peninsula, Oct. 7. As of 1300 CDT, the disturbance's center of circulation was approximately 145 km (90 miles) south of Cozumel, Mexico, and 365 km (225 miles) southwest of the western tip of Cuba. Although the system had become stationary, it will likely resume slow northward movement later in the day, making a close approach to or possibly landfall near Cozumel early Oct. 8.

Meteorologists predict that Michael will gradually strengthen as it tracks generally northward over the eastern Gulf of Mexico in the coming days. Forecasters expect the system to make a second landfall either as a Category 1 hurricane or a strong tropical storm near Pensacola, Florida, US, Oct. 10. However, some uncertainty remains in the forecast, and the storm's projected path and intensity could change at short notice.

Weather Warnings
As of Oct. 7, the following warnings, watches, and/or advisories have been issued in response to the storm:

  • Tropical Storm Warning*: Provinces of Pinar del Rio and Isle of Youth in Cuba
  • Tropical Storm Warning*: The coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, including Cozumel

*Tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours in areas under a Tropical Storm Warning and within 36 to 48 hours where a Tropical Storm Watch is active.

Authorities in Mexico, Cuba, and the US Gulf Coast states will likely issue new advisories or update existing warnings as Michael draws closer - the proximity of the system's center of circulation to land will ultimately determine how significant the weather-related impacts will be.

Hazardous Weather
Tropical Storm Michael will likely bring heavy rainfall, flash flooding, and gusty winds to northern Honduras, Belize, Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and western Cuba through Oct. 9. Rain accumulations of 7.62-18 cm (3-7 inches), with isolated amounts up to 31 cm (12 inches), are anticipated in western Cuba. Lesser amounts of 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) are likely over the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, and northern Honduras. Rainfall from the storm could produce dangerous flash flooding, as well as mudslides in mountainous areas.

Ground, air, and maritime transport disruptions are possible in areas affected by the storm. Flight delays and cancellations are possible at airports serving Belize City (BZE), Cancun (CUN), Cozumel (CZM), and Havana (HAV). Residual disruptions could persist well after conditions have improved.

 

Advice

Those with business interests or travel arrangements in the northwestern Caribbean and US Gulf Coast should closely monitor updated tropical forecasts over the coming days. Review and be prepared to implement business continuity measures in the event of potential landfall. If the storm begins affecting land operations, limit unnecessary driving in affected regions until it passes. Avoid traveling in elevated areas, which are prone to mudslides, during severe inclement weather. Use caution around streams, rivers, and other flood-prone areas. Plan accordingly for potential urban flooding and transportation disruptions. Confirm all transport operations before travel.

 


 

Resources

National Hurricane Center: www.nhc.noaa.gov
National Weather Service: www.weather.gov
US Road Conditions: www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo
FAA Flight Delays: www.fly.faa.gov

Emergency Management
Alabama: ema.alabama.gov
Florida: www.floridadisaster.org
Georgia: www.gema.ga.gov
South Carolina: www.scemd.org

Airlines
Allegiant Air: www.allegiantair.com
American Airlines: www.aa.com
Delta Airlines: www.delta.com
Frontier Airlines: www.flyfrontier.com
JetBlue: www.jetblue.com
Southwest Airlines: www.southwest.com
United Airlines: www.united.com

Airports
Albany Southwest Georgia Regional Airport: airport.albanyga.gov
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport: www.atl.com
Augusta Regional Airport: www.flyags.com
Brunswick Golden Isles Airport: www.flygcairports.com
Charleston International Airport: www.iflychs.com
Charlotte Douglas International Airport: www.cltairport.com
Columbia Metropolitan Airport: columbiaairport.com
Columbus Metropolitan Airport: www.flycolumbusga.com
Destin Fort Walton Beach International Airport: www.flyvps.com
Dothan Regional Airport: www.flydothan.com
Florence Regional Airport: www.flyflo.us
Gainesville Regional Airport: www.flygainesville.com
Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport: www.flygpt.com
Hilton Head Island Airport: www.hiltonheadairport.com
Jacksonville International Airport: www.flyjacksonville.com
Mobile Regional Airport: www.mobairport.com
Montgomery Regional Airport: flymgm.com
Myrtle Beach International Airport: www.flymyrtlebeach.com
Panama City Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport: www.iflybeaches.com
Pensacola International Airport: flypensacola.com
Savannah Hilton Head International Airport: savannahairport.com
Tallahassee International Airport: www.talgov.com/airport
Tampa International Airport: www.tampaairport.com
Valdosta Regional Airport: flyvaldosta.com
Wilmington International Airport: flyilm.com