Eyes on Hurricane Michael

Published 8:17 pm Monday, October 8, 2018

Hurricane Michael is set to make landfall in Florida this week, but the impacts in Hampton Roads should be minimal.

The National Hurricane Center reported in its 5 p.m. update on Monday that Hurricane Michael was about 520 miles south of Apalachicola, Fla. It was moving north at nearly nine miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.

Michael is expected to move north-northwestward at a slightly faster forward speed through Tuesday evening, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the update. The center of Michael is expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend region on Wednesday, then move northeastward across the southern United States Wednesday evening and into Thursday.

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“Steady to rapid strengthening is forecast during the next day or so, and Michael is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday or Tuesday night,” the National Hurricane Center reported.

Michael became a Category 1 hurricane as it brought hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall to western Cuba on Monday morning and could become a Category 3 hurricane by the time it hits the United States on Wednesday or Thursday, the center reported.

The center forecast 4 to 8 inches of rainfall for the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend, across Georgia and into South Carolina, with isolated bouts of 12-inch rainfall.

North Carolina and portions of the Mid-Atlantic states are forecast to receive 2 to 4 inches, with isolated instances of 6 inches.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Andrew Zimmerman said it’s likely that Michael will weaken as it comes over land while simultaneously increasing in forward speed, based on the 5 p.m. update on Monday.

Effects are expected to come across the Hampton Roads region Thursday evening and possibly into Friday morning, but these would be far lesser impacts with no cause for concern as of yet.

“By that point the system is expected to weaken into a tropical storm and move fairly quick,” Zimmerman said. “It does look like it has the potential for breezy conditions for the coast and a period of heavy rain.”

The National Weather Service Wakefield Office forecast for Hampton Roads projects 2 to 4 inches of rainfall between Wednesday and Friday.