Hurricane Michael is headed ashore at the Florida Panhandle sometime this afternoon. Michael is expected to make landfall as a category 4 storm with sustained winds of 135 mph gusting to 160. Major damage is expected in the Panama City area as Michael passes by.
Michael is expected to weaken but the National Hurricane Center has the center of the storm passing
offshore at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay late Thursday evening. As of now a gale watch is in effect for the Chesapeake Bay. According to the GFS model the Eastern Shore could experience wind gusts of over 40 miles per hour around midnight Thursday. The European model shows gusts of over 40 mph at around 4 a.m. Friday. The GFS model has the heaviest rain to fall around midnight Thursday with the European model showing the heaviest rain to fall at around 6 a.m. Friday. The National Hurricane Center is still calling for between 2 and 4 inches of rain but it’s possible that some areas, especially Northampton County could see more.
By the time Michael reaches our area it could be moving at 35 mph which is both good and bad. Hurricanes often pick up speed as they move north in October. But because Michael is expected to come ashore as a category 3 it’s quick northward movement will not give it as much time over land and it could remain at tropical storm strength when it gets here. The other side of that is that Michael’s appearance in our area will be relatively brief and should be out of here by sometime Friday afternoon. As of now there are no plans to evacuate and there are no planned shelter openings.
There is a flash flood watch and high wind watch for the Eastern Shore until Friday morning. However as of now, no significant tidal flooding is expected as a result of Michael.
Charts courtesy National Hurricane Center Web Site