The Euro model (ECMWF) forecasts Hurricane Michael to make landfall at the Florida Panhandle and Big Ben along the U.S. Gulf Coast on Wednesday. The model above tracks over a 240-hour period beginning the evening of Monday, October 8, 2018.
The consensus for the models anticipates Michael will strengthen at least to a Category 2, but expected to make landfall as a Category 3.
State of Emergency
Florida Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order 18-276 declaring a state of emergency in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy and Citrus counties.
The governor expanded Executive Order 18-276 later Monday to include Bradford, Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Alachua, Union, and Baker Counties. With these additions, the state of emergency includes 35 Florida counties in total.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a statewide State of Emergency on Monday that went into effect at 3:00 PM CST.
A hurricane watch is in effect for the northeast Gulf Coast from the Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida, including Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee. The watch is also in effect from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border. Hurricane watches are issued 48 hours before the arrival of tropical-storm-force winds which is when outside preparations become dangerous.
Tropical Storm Warning
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Alabama/Florida border to Suwannee River Florida and the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.
Tropical Storm Watch
Tropical storm watches are in effect from Suwanee River, Florida, to Anna Maria Island, Florida, including Tampa Bay. Also in a tropical storm watch is a swath of the Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border as well as inland areas of southern Alabama and southwest Georgia.
Storm Surge Watch
A storm surge watch is in effect from Navarre, Florida, to Anna Maria Island, Florida, including Tampa Bay. This means life-threatening storm surge inundation is possible in the watch area within 48 hours.
NHC 700 PM CDT Mon Oct 08 2018
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the reconnaissance aircraft indicate maximum sustained winds increased to near 85 mph (140 km/h) with even higher gusts. It’s forecast to strengthen from a steady to rapid pace over the next 24 hours or so. Michael is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday night.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).
A northward to north-northwestward motion at a slightly faster forward speed is expected through Tuesday night, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday. On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico tonight, then move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday and Tuesday night. The center of Michael is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday.