Late Monday morning, the National Hurricane Center upgraded then Tropical Storm Michael to Category 1 hurricane status.
- Michael has max sustained winds of 75 mph and is expected to strengthen to a Category 3 hurricane Wednesday
- North Carolina could receive between 1 to 5 inches of rain, starting Wednesday into Friday morning
- Wind gusts associated with Michael could reach up to 60 mph, potentially downing trees and powerlines
- Isolated to scattered power outages will be possible starting Thursday through Friday morning
Based off the trends in the data, Michael will feed off the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and go through a rapid intensification. By Tuesday morning Michael will likely reach Category 2 levels, and Category 3 by Wednesday with winds near 120 mph. Landfall will likely occur Wednesday along the Florida panhandle. Michael will then track northeast over Georgia toward the Carolinas.
Michael is a completely different storm compared to Hurricane Florence, so the impacts will be different. Michael will move through the region relatively quickly compared to the slow track Florence went through. Rain coverage will begin to expand into the region Wednesday, with the heaviest rain likely Thursday into Friday morning.
By the time Michael reaches the Carolinas, it will be a weakening tropical storm. This will place a low, but present threat for flash flooding, strong to damaging wind gusts, and isolated tornadoes. As of right now this is not a situation where anyone needs to "head for the hills." But it is a situation that you need to respect and remain calm and informed.
If you live in a poor drainage or flood-prone area, remain weather aware and be prepared to act in case conditions turn downhill later this week. The forecast track will directly influence the degree of impacts. Stay connected because tweaks will be made as new data becomes available.