A year ago saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic - including Irma, Maria and Hurricane Harvey - causing a record-equalling $125bn in damage when it flooded the Houston metropolitan area.
Michael was packing sustained winds of up to 140km/h late on Monday and gaining strength as it skirted past Cuba's western tip, where it is expected to dump as much as 30cm of rain, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountain areas. Winds become westerly late Thursday night into Friday morning, remaining 40 to 50 knots with gusts to 60 knots, until the center of Michael moves off the coast near the North Carolina/Virginia border Friday morning.
The storm is aiming at a region that stretches from Mobile, Alabama, through the Florida Panhandle and into the Big Bend area of northern Florida.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 35 counties and activated hundreds of National Guard troops to prepare for Hurricane Michael's onslaught. That's a result of upper-level patterns that are starting to bring cold fronts down across the Central Plains states and into Texas. A Category 1 hurricane has sustained winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour.
"Storm surge is the number one problem that you can see from these storms. you have rain, you have wind - but storm surge, that's a lot of water that can come on shore", said David Peaton, the Deputy Director of Emergency Management in Levy County in an interview with WUFT.
Michael has intensified into a hurricane and the National Weather Service has issued a hurricane watch for most of the Florida Panhandle and the Big Bend. Further north, the forecast calls for 8 to 12 feet of surge in the Big Bend area, along with catastrophic winds above 110 miles per hour, where it is expected to make landfalllate Wednesday.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency in her state, "in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael".
By the time Michael reaches the Carolinas, it will be a weakening tropical storm. The red tide in the Gulf of Mexico off southwest Florida that began last October after Hurricane Irma swept up the state has killed massive amounts of marine life and caused respiratory irritations in people.
The Gulf Coast is forecast to see tropical storm conditions Tuesday night or early Wednesday, ahead of the hurricane activity expected for Wednesday.
The hurricane, now off Cuba's western tip, is expected to make landfall on the Florida panhandle and affect portions of southern Alabama.
Florida State University announced it was closing for the week on Tuesday, along with schools in Leon County, home to the state capital Tallahassee. He added, "Today it is about life and safety". In addition, this rainfall will saturate the ground, making it more likely that trees will go down and cause power outages. The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, an industry group in the state, recommended that homeowners review their policies and write down any significant phone numbers in case power is out after landfall.
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