BLOG: Was Hoping to Retire the Tropical Graphics

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I think I heard a collective “here we go again” when I posted the track for Tropical Storm Michael.  I get it, I get it.  I don’t particularly want to talk about another potential storm, but here we are, and we’ll get through it.

Michael continues to strengthen – winds are now up to 60 MPH as it moves north into the Gulf of Mexico.

Right now, Michael is forecast to increase strength, likely becoming a Category 1 hurricane Monday night or early Tuesday morning.  The storm will move towards the Gulf Coast by Wednesday.

There’s a good chance Michael will make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane Wednesday afternoon/evening with winds around 100 MPH.  As the storm continues inland, the National Hurricane Center expects it to maintain hurricane strength all the way through Georgia, then weaken to tropical storm once it hits the Carolinas.  This is one of the things we’ll be watching closely because clearly strength will be a big factor on the intensity of the impact in Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina.

Our spaghetti models are maintaining some consistency with the track of this storm:

Most of them have Michael making landfall along the Florida panhandle.  From there, they spread out a little bit – from Washington D.C to the Outer Banks.

Lets take a closer look at the European model versus the American model (GFS):

While the track of the GFS and the Euro are close, the timing is way off.  As you can see, by Thursday evening, the GFS has Michael over Hampton Roads, whereas the Euro has it over northern Florida.  That’s a big difference!  If the GFS comes to fruition, then Michael will quickly cross our region on Thursday and be gone by Friday.  If the Euro is right, then we will be dealing with rain and wind on Friday.  I will say, we could see some high rainfall totals in North Carolina and South Carolina – in the same places that are still dealing with high water from Florence.  This could be another sad situation for them.

So here’s what we know:

We will see rain and wind.

At the least, I expect tropical storm-force wind gusts (<39 MPH).

Here’s what we are still questioning:

WHEN will the rain and wind it – Thursday or Friday?

HOW STRONG will Michael be – tropical storm? tropical depression? subtropical storm?

Meteorologist Jeremy Wheeler will have an update starting at 4:30 AM.  In the meantime, don’t clear out the milk and bread aisles and enjoy your warm and muggy Columbus Day.

-Meteorologist Ashley Baylor

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