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Hurricane Dorian Brings Wind and Rain to the Carolinas

Hurricane Dorian brought wind and rain to the Carolinas on Thursday while the center move just off the coast.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Hurricane Dorian was located at latitude 33.6°N and longitude 77.4°W which put it about 70 miles southwest of Cape Lookout, North Carolina.  Dorian was moving toward the northeast at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 958 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portion of the coast from the North Carolina/Virginia border to Fenwick Island, Delaware, for Chesapeake Bay south of Drum Point and for the Tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island. A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Woods Hole to Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. A Hurricane Watch has been issued for all of Nova Scotia. Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for Prince Edward Island, for the Magdalen Islands and for New Brunswick from Fundy National Park to Shediac. A Tropical Storm Watch was issued for Newfoundland from Francois to Boat Harbor.

Hurricane Dorian weakened very slowly on Thursday while the center of circulation moved just off the coast.  The pressure remained nearly steady around 958 mb.  A circular eye with a diameter of 35 miles (55 km) was at the center of circulation.  A ring of thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were in that ring of storms.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of Hurricane Dorian.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 220 miles (330 km) from the center.

The core of Hurricane Dorian with the strongest winds remained over the Atlantic Ocean.  Numerous location along the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina reported winds to topical storm force.  Rainbands rotating around the northern half of Dorian dropped locally heavy rain over coastal areas of South Carolina and North Carolina.  Thunderstorms in some of the bands generated tornadoes and there were scattered reports of wind damage.  Hurricane Dorian caused a storm surge of 4 to 7 feet (1.3 to 2.3 meters) along the coast.

An upper level trough over the eastern U.S. began to steer Hurricane Dorian toward the northeast.  Dorian began to move faster later on Thursday.  The upper level trough will steer Hurricane Dorian rapidly toward the northeast during the next few days.  On its anticipated track Dorian will bring wind and rain to eastern North Carolina on Friday.  Dorian will also cause a storm surge along the coast.  Hurricane Dorian will pass southeast of New England on Friday night.  Dorian will bring wind and rain to the Canadian Maritime provinces and Newfoundland during the weekend.

Major Hurricane Dorian Moves Toward the Carolinas

Major Hurricane Dorian moved toward the Carolinas on Wednesday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Dorian was located at latitude 31.3°N and longitude 79.6°W which put it about 105 miles (170 km) south of Charleston, South Carolina.  Dorian was moving toward the north at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 115 m.p.h. (195 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 140 m.p.h. (220 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 955 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Savannah River, Georgia to the North Carolina/Virginia border including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.  A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the mouth of the St. Mary’s River, Florida to Savannah River, Georgia.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portions of the coast from the mouth of the St. Mary’s River to Savannah River, Georgia and from the North Carolina/Virginia border to Chincoteague, Virginia.  A Tropical Storm Warning was also in effect for Chesapeak Bay south of Smith Point.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portion of the coast from Chincoteague, Virginia to Fenwick Island, Delaware, for Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point to Drum Point and for the Tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island.

Hurricane Dorian strengthened back into a major hurricane on Wednesday night as it moved over the warm water in the Gulf Stream.  A large eye with a diameter of 45 miles (75 km) became more circular and symmetrical.  The ring of thunderstorms surrounding the eye became continuous and a little thicker.  The strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Other bands of showers and thunderstorms revolving around the core of Hurricane Dorian also got stronger.  Storms around the core of Dorian generated upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the hurricane and the surface pressure decreased.

The circulation around Hurricane Dorian increased in size on Wednesday.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 200 miles (320 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Dorian was 20.6.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 22.6 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 43.2.  Hurricane Dorian was capable of causing widespread major damage.

Hurricane Dorian will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 12 hours.  Dorian will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Dorian could get a little stronger during the night.  An upper level trough over the central U.S. will move toward Hurricane Dorian on Thursday.  The upper level trough will produce southwesterly winds which will blow toward the top of the hurricane.  Those winds will cause the vertical wind shear to increase, which will cause Dorian to start to weaken.

Hurricane Dorian will move around the western end of a subtropical ridge over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The ridge will steer Dorian toward the north on Wednesday night.  The upper level trough will turn Hurricane Dorian toward the northeast on Thursday.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Dorian could approach the coast of South Carolina on Thursday morning.  Dorian will move along the coast of North Carolina on Thursday afternoon and Thursday night.

Even if the center of Hurricane Dorian stays just south of the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina, the large circulation means that locations near the coast are likely to get hurricane force winds.  Winds blowing water toward the coast could cause storm surges of 5 to 8 feet (1.5 to 2.5 meters) in some locations.  Dorian could also drop locally heavy rain and cause flash flooding  near the coast.

Elsewhere, Tropical Storm Fernand made landfall north of La Pesca, Mexico on Wednesday and Tropical Storm Gabrielle developed south of the Azores.  Ar 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Depression Fernand was located at latitude 25.0°N and longitude 99.0°W which put it about 100 miles (160 km) west-northwest of La Pesca, Mexico.  Dorian was moving toward the west-northwest at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1007 mb.

At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Gabrielle was located at latitude 21.5°N and longitude 34.4°W which put it about 1220 miles (1965 km) south-southwest of the Azores.  Gabrielle was moving toward the northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 m/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1002 mb.

Hurricane Dorian Moves Parallel to Florida Coast

Hurricane Dorian moved parallel to the east coast of Florida on Tuesday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Dorian was at latitude 28.4°N and longitude 79.0°W which put it about 95 miles (155 km/h) east of Cape Canaveral, Florida.  Dorian was moving toward the north-northwest at 6 m.p.h. (9 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 130 m.p.h. (215 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 959 mb.

Hurricane Warnings were in effect for the portions of the coast from Sebastian Inlet to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and from Savannah River, Georgia to Surf City, North Carolina.  Hurricane Watches were in effect for the portion of the coast from Ponte Vedra Beach to Savannah River, Georgia and from Surf City, North Carolina to the North Carolina/Virginia border including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portion of the coast from Jupiter Inlet to Sebastian Inlet, Florida and from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida to Savannah, River, Georgia.  Tropical Storm Watches were also in effect for the Northwestern Bahamas including the Abacos and Grand Bahama Island.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portion of the coast from the North Carolina/Virginia border to Chincoteague, Virginia and for Chesapeake Bay south of Smith Point.

Although Hurricane Dorian was moving again, it exhibited the structure of a hurricane that had been stationary for a day and had undergone an eyewall replacement cycle.  There was a large ragged eye with a diameter of 35 miles (55 km) at the center of circulation.  The eye was surrounded by a broken ring of thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Multiple bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the large core of Hurricane Dorian.  Storm near the core were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.

An eyewall replacement cycle caused the size of the circulation around Hurricane Dorian to increase.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 60 miles (95 km) from the center of circulation.  Wind to tropical storm force extended out about 175 miles (285 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Dorian was 19.2.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 19.9 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 39.1.

Hurricane Dorian will move through an environment favorable for intensification on Wednesday.  Dorian will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  However, the large size of Hurricane Dorian will limit potential intensification.  Hurricane Dorian could intensify a little on Wednesday.  An upper level trough over the U.S. will approach Dorian on Wednesday night.  The trough will produce southwesterly winds which will cause more vertical wind shear on Thursday.

Hurricane Dorian will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday.  The high will steer Dorian toward the north-northwest.  The upper level trough will turn Dorian toward the northeast on Wednesday night.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Dorian will move nearly parallel to the east coast of Florida on Wednesday.  Dorian could approach the coast of South Carolina by Wednesday night.

Elsewhere Tropical Storm Fernand was over the western Gulf of Mexico and Tropical Depression was west of the Cabo Verde Islands.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Fernand was located at latitude 23.2°N and longitude 96.4°W which put it about 100 miles (155 km) east-southeast of La Pesca, Mexico.  Fernand was moving toward the west at 3 m.p.h. (5 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1000 mb.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Puerto Altimira, Mexico to the Mouth of the Rio Grande, River.

At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Depression Eight was located at latitude 19.1°N and longitude 32.8°W which put it about 615 miles (995 km) west-northwest of the Cabo Verde Islands.  It was moving toward the northwest at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1006 mb.

Hurricane Michael Makes Landfall in Northwest Florida

Powerful Hurricane Michael made landfall in Northwest Florida Wednesday afternoon.  The center of Hurricane Michael officially made landfall between Panama City and Mexico Beach, Florida.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Michael was located at latitude 30.0°N and longitude 85.5°W which put it about 20 miles (30 km) southeast of Panama City, Florida.  Michael was moving toward the north-northeast at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 155 m.p.h. (250 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 180 m.p.h. (290 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 919 mb.

Hurricane Michael intensified rapidly right up to landfall on the Gulf Coast.  The minimum surface pressure decreased from 933 mb to 919 mb in the six hours prior to landfall.  With a maximum sustained wind speed of 155 m.p.h. (250 km/h) Hurricane Michael was at the top end of Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  Michael is the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall on that portion of the Gulf Coast and it was one of the most intense hurricanes to make landfall anywhere along the coast of the U.S. during the month of October.

Even though Hurricane Michael is moving inland, a Hurricane Warning remains in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the Suwanee River to Chassahowitzka, Florida.  A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for the Atlantic Coast from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Duck, North Carolina including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.  A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect from Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island, Florida.

Winds to hurricane force extended out about 45 miles (75 km) from the center of Hurricane Michael at the time of landfall.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 185 miles (290 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) was 33.3.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 16.1 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 49.4.  Hurricane Michael will cause regional significant damage.

Tyndall Air Force Base reported a wind gust of 119 m.p.h. (191 km/h).  The Florida State University Panama City Campus reported a wind gust of 116 m.p.h. (187 km/h).   The Panama City Treatment Plant reported a wind gust of 94 m.p.h. (151 km/h).

The coast along the northeastern Gulf of Mexico is very vulnerable to storm surges.  The winds were pushing water toward the coast in the eastern half of the circulation of Hurricane Michael.  Some locations could have a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters).  There have already been reports of damage due to storm surge.

An upper level trough will steer Hurricane Michael toward the northeast.  Michael will weaken as it moves inland, but it will carry hurricane force winds over northeastern Florida, extreme southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.  The center of Hurricane Michael will pass between Dothan, Alabama and Tallahasse, Florida.  it will move toward Albany, Georgia and then pass south of Macon, Georgia.  Michael will move across South Carolina and North Carolina as a tropical storm before exiting the U.S. near Norfolk, Virginia.

Hurricane Michael will cause widespread power outages and numerous outages are already occurring in northwest Florida.  Michael will also produce locally heavy rain and flash floods could occur as it moves inland.  Wind and rain will disrupt efforts in South Carolina and North Carolina to recover from the effects of Hurricane Florence.

One of the most unusual aspects of Hurricane Michael was that it intensified rapidly right up until it made landfall in northwest Florida.  In the past most major hurricanes weakened while they approached the coast along the northern Gulf of Mexico.  Those hurricanes encountered drier air and more vertical wind shear and they weakened.  The Sea Surface Temperatures in the northern Gulf of Mexico is 2°C to 3°C warmer than normal and that may have contributed to the rapid intensification of Hurricane Michael before landfall.  Hurricane Camille in 1969 also intensified right up until it made landfall in Mississippi.  However, Camille occurred in August, while Hurricane Michael occurred in October.

Powerful Hurricane Michael Nearing North Florida

Powerful hurricane Michael was nearing north Florida on Wednesday morning.  Michael intensified rapidly to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale during the overnight hours.  At 8:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Michael was located at latitude 29.0°N and longitude 86.3°W which put it about 90 miles south-southwest of Panama City, Florida.  Michael was moving toward the north at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 145 m.p.h. (230 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 170 m.p.h. (275 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 933 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to the Alabama-Mississippi border and from Suwanee River to Chassahowitzka, Florida.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the Atlantic Coast from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Surf City, North Carolina.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Mississippi border to the Mouth of the Pearl River and from Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island, Florida.  A Tropical Storm Watch was also in effect from Surf City to Duck, North Carolina including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

Hurricane Michael intensified rapidly during the past 12 hours.  An eye with a diameter of 20 miles (32 km) is surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms.  The strongest winds are occurring in that ring of storms.  Storms near the core of Hurricane Michael are generating strong upper level divergence which is pumping large quantities of mass away from the hurricane.  The removal of mass allowed the surface pressure to decrease rapidly to 933 mb.

Winds to hurricane force extend out about 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) from the center of Hurricane Michael.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 185 miles (290 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Michael is 29.9.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 16.1 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 46.0.  Hurricane Michael is capable of causing regional significant damage.

Hurricane Michael is stronger than any other hurricane to hit north Florida in the historical record.  Michael is similar in intensity to what Hurricane Charley was when Charley hit southwest Florida in 2004.  Hurricane Michael is bigger than Charley was in 2004.

An upper level trough over the Central U.S. and a subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean are combining to steer Hurricane Michael toward the north.  The trough will turn Michael toward the northeast when it reaches the coast.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Michael will make landfall near Panama City and Port St. Joe, Florida in about six hours.

Hurricane Michael will bring destructive winds to the coast of north Florida.  The strongest winds will be near the center and east of the center.  Those winds will push water toward the coast and a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) will occur east of where the center of Michael makes landfall.  The coast of the northeast Gulf of Mexico is very vulnerable to storm surges and significant damage will occur.

The center of Hurricane Michael will move between Dothan, Alabama and Tallahassee, Florida.  It will pass near Albany, Georgia and then move south of Macon, Georgia.  The center of Michael could move near Columbia, South Carolina and then it could exit the East Coast of the U.S. near Norfolk, Virginia.

Michael will bring hurricane force winds to northeast Florida, extreme southeast Alabama and southern Georgia.  There will be widespread power outages.  Winds to tropical storm force will occur in South Carolina and North Carolina.  Hurricane Michael will drop locally heavy rain when it moves inland.  The wind and rain will disrupt efforts to recover from the effects of Hurricane Florence in South Carolina and North Carolina.

Michael Strengthens to a Major Hurricane

Hurricane Michael strengthened into a major hurricane on Tuesday afternoon.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Hurricane Michael was located at latitude 26.0°N and longitude 86.4°W which put it about 290 miles (470 km) south of Panama City, Florida.  Michael was moving toward the north at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 140 m.p.h. (225 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 957 mb.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwanee River, Florida.  Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to the Alabama-Mississippi border, from Suwanee River to Chassahowitzka, Florida and from Fernandina Beach, Florida to South Santee River, South Carolina on the Atlantic Coast.  Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Mississippi border to the Mouth of the Pearl River, from Chassahowitzka to Anna Maria Island, Florida and from South Santee, River South Carolina to Duck, North Carolina including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

The inner core of Hurricane Michael tightened on Tuesday afternoon.  The diameter of the eye decreased from 30 miles (50 km) to 22 miles (35 km).  The ring of thunderstorms around the eye tightened around the smaller eye and the strongest winds were closer to the center of circulation.  Storms around the core of Michael were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.  The removal of mass allowed the surface pressure to decrease from 965 mb to 957 mb during the past six hours.

Winds to hurricane force extend out about 45 miles (75 km) from the center of Hurricane Michael.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 170 miles (280 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Michael is 22.1.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 14.6 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 36.7.  Hurricane Michael is capable of causing regional major damage.

Hurricane Michael will move through an environment favorable for intensification for another 12 to 18 hours.  Michael will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level trough over the Central U.S. is producing westerly winds which are blowing toward the top of Hurricane Michael, but those winds are not causing enough vertical wind shear to prevent intensification.  Hurricane Michael could intensify to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale before it makes landfall.

Hurricane Michael is moving between a subtropical high pressure system over the western Atlantic Ocean and the upper level trough over the Central U.S.  Those two weather systems are steering Michael toward the north and that general motion is expected to continue for another 12 hours.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Michael will make landfall near Panama City and Port St. Joe, Florida early on Wednesday afternoon.  The upper level trough will steer Michael more toward the northeast after it makes landfall.  The center of Michael is likely to move between Dothan, Alabama and Tallahassee, Florida and it could pass near Albany, Georgia.

Hurricane Michael will bring strong winds to northwest Florida, extreme southeast Alabama and southern Georgia.  There will be wind damage and widespread power outages could occur.  The coast of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico is very vulnerable to storm surges.  Hurricane Michael will produce a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) at some points along the coast.  Michael will drop locally heavy rain.  Although Hurricane Michael will weaken when it moves inland, it will bring gusty winds and heavy rain to South Carolina and North Carolina.  Hurricane Michael will hinder efforts in those states to recover from the effects of Hurricane Florence.

Michael Strengthens Into a Hurricane, Watches Issued for Gulf Coast

Former Tropical Storm Michael strengthened into a hurricane on Monday morning and Watches were issued for portions of the Gulf Coast.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Michael was located at latitude 21.2°N and longitude 84.9°W which put it about 50 miles (80 km) south of the western end of Cuba.  Michael was moving toward the north at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 982 mb.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for the portions of the coast from the Alabama-Florida border to the Alabama-Mississippi border and from Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island, Florida.  A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the Cuban province of Isle of Youth and for the portion of the coast from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, Mexico.

Hurricane Michael continued to organize quickly.  A circular eye with a diameter of about 30 miles (50 km) was forming at the center of Michael.  A ring of strong thunderstorms was wrapping around the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in the ring of storms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were wrapping around the core of Hurricane Michael.  Storms near the core were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.

Winds to hurricane force extended out about 30 miles (50 km) primarily to the northeast of the center of Hurricane Michael.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 175 miles (280 km) from the center of circulation.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Michael was 10.4.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 6.8 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 17.2.

Hurricane Michael will move into an environment that will become increasingly favorable for intensification.  Michael will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  An upper level trough over the Gulf of Mexico was producing westerly winds which were blowing toward the top of the circulation.  Those winds were causing some vertical wind shear.  However, the upper level trough will move westward away from Hurricane Michael and the wind shear will decrease.  Hurricane Michael will continue to strengthen when it moves over the Gulf of Mexico and it could intensify rapidly once the eye and eyewall are fully formed.  Hurricane Michael is likely to strengthen into a major hurricane.

Hurricane Michael will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system centered over the western Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Michael in a northerly direction during the next several days.  It will get bigger and stronger during the next 48 hours.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Michael will approach the northeast coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.  It is likely to be a major hurricane at that time.  Hurricane Michael has the potential to cause a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) at the coast.  It will bring strong winds which could cause regional major damage and result in significant power outages.  Locally heavy rain could cause flooding in some locations.

Tropical Storm Michael Strengthens East of Yucatan

Tropical Storm Michael strengthened east of the Yucatan peninsula on Sunday.  At 8:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Michael was located at latitude 19.9°N and longitude 85.4°W which put it about 105 miles (170 km) east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico.  Michael was moving toward the north at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 997 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the Cuban provinces of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth.  A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for the portion of the coast from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, Mexico.

The circulation around Tropical Storm Michael is still organizing and the distribution of thunderstorms is asymmetrical.  Most of the thunderstorms are occurring in bands in the eastern half of the circulation.  A new center of circulation formed on Sunday afternoon near those thunderstorms.  Many of the rainbands in the western half of Tropical Storm Michael contain primarily showers and lower clouds.  One outer rainband in the southwestern periphery of the circulation does contain numerous thunderstorms.  The strongest winds are occurring in the rainbands on the eastern side of Tropical Storm Michael.  The winds are weaker on the western side of the circulation.  Storms on the eastern side of Michael are generating some upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical storm and was allowing the surface pressure to decrease.

An upper level trough over the Gulf of Mexico is producing westerly winds which are blowing across the top of Tropical Storm Michael.  Those winds are causing moderate vertical wind shear which was slowing the rate of intensification, but the shear is not strong enough to prevent Michael from strengthening.  The wind shear is probably the reason for the asymmetrical distribution of thunderstorms.  The upper level trough will move westward during the next few days and the upper level winds will weaken.  Michael will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is warmer than 30°C.  Tropical Storm Michael will strengthen slowly during the next 24 hours.  However, it will intensify more rapidly on Tuesday when the upper level winds weaken.  Michael will strengthen into a hurricane when it moves over the Gulf of Mexico and it could intensify into a major hurricane.

Tropical Storm Michael has been moving slowly while the circulation organizes and the center reforms.  Michael will move around the southwestern part of the subtropical high pressure system over the western North Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Michael in a northward direction during the next two or three days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Storm Michael will pass between the western end of Cuba and the Yucatan peninsula on Monday.  Michael could approach northern Florida by Wednesday.  It will be a hurricane at that time and it could be a major hurricane.  Michael could produce strong winds, a significant storm surge and drop heavy rain when it reaches the coast.

Florence Still Producing Heavy Rain and Floods in Carolinas

Although former Hurricane Florence weakened to a tropical depression on Sunday, it was still producing heavy rain and causing floods in portions of the Carolinas.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Depression Florence was located at latitude 34.6°N and longitude 82.2°W which put it about 25 miles (40 km) south-southeast of Greenville, South Carolina.  Florence was moving toward the north at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1006 mb.

Slow movement of Tropical Depression Florence resulted in persistent heavy rain over portions of North Carolina and South Carolina.  The National Weather Service Office in Newport/Morehead City, North Carolina measured 25.20 inches (64.0 cm) of rain with Florence.  The airport in Wilmington, North Carolina measured 23.59 inches (59.9 cm) of rain.  A Remotely operated Automated Weather Station (RAWS) in Marion, South Carolina measured 18.13 inches (46.0 cm) of rain.  There were reports of up to ten inches (25.4 cm) at some locations around Charlotte, North Carolina.  Runoff of the persistent heavy rain has caused floods in many locations.  The Cape Fear River near Chinquapin, North Carolina has risen above the previous record flood level.  Parts of the Cape Fear River, Neuse River, Trent River and Lumber River are at major flood levels.  Minor and moderate flooding is occurring in numerous other places around North Carolina and South Carolina.

Tropical Depression Florence has started to move toward the north.  Florence will move into western Carolina on Sunday night.  It will move over eastern Tennessee, western Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and West Virginia on its way toward Ohio on Monday.  One primary rainband on the eastern side of the circulation will continue to drop heavy rain over parts of eastern South Carolina for a few more hours.  Convergence into the low will produce heavy rain that could move into western Virginia and West Virginia on Monday.  Flash Flood Watches have been issued for South Carolina, North Carolina, western Virginia and southern West Virginia.

Hurricane Florence Makes Landfall Near Wilmington, North Carolina

Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina on Friday morning.  The National Hurricane Center stated that the center of Hurricane Florence officially made landfall near Wrightsville Beach or about five miles east of Wilmington at 7:15 a.m. EDT on Friday.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h) at the time of landfall.  Hurricane Florence moved slowly toward the west after landfall.

At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Florence was located at latitude 34.0°N and longitude 78.4°W which put it about 35 miles (55 km/h) east-northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Florence was moving toward the west at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 968 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from South Santee River, South Carolina to Bogue Inlet, North Carolina including Pamlico Sound.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portions of the coast from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to South Santee River and from Bogue Inlet to Duck, North Carolina including Albemarle Sound.

Hurricane Florence did produce sustained winds to hurricane force when hit North Carolina.  A National Data Buoy Center C-MAN station (CLKN7) reported a sustained wind speed of 81 m.p.h. (131 km/h) and a wind gust of 101 m.p.h. (163 km/h).  A buoy east of the center of Hurricane Florencereported a wind gust of 112 m.p.h. (180 km/h) near the time of landfall.  The airport at Wilmington, North Carolina reported a wind gust of 87 m.p.h. (140 km/h).

The center of Hurricane Florence has been inland for a few hours and the circulation is gradually spinning down.  There is still a well organized center of circulation, but they eye has filled in with clouds and showers.  The strongest winds are occurring in rainbands that are still out over the Atlantic Ocean.  Friction is reducing the wind speed in the part of the circulation over land.

Hurricane Florence continues to pose serious risks for southeastern North Carolina and eastern South Carolina.  A prolonged period of tropical storm force winds and occasional gusts to hurricane force could bring down trees and add to the widespread power outages.  On the eastern side of Hurricane Florence the wind will push water toward the shore and the threat of coastal flooding continues.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms will drop heavy rain and flash flooding is likely near rivers and streams that are already at bankful.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Storm Helene was speeding toward the Azores, Tropical Depression Isaac was moving over the eastern Caribbean Sea and Tropical Storm Joyce was moving west of Helene.

At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Storm Helene was located at latitude 32.9°N and longitude 36.3°W which put it about 655 miles (1055 km) southwest of the Azores.  Helene was moving toward the north  at 23 m.p.h. (37 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 70 m.p.h. (110km/h) and there were wind gusts to 85 m.p.h. (135 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 988 mb.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for all of the Azores.

At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Depression Isaac was located at latitude 14.9°N and longitude 67.3°W.  Isaac was moving toward the west at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1007 mb.

At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Storm Joyce was located at latitude 31.6°N and longitude 44.6°W which put it about 1090 miles (1755 km) west-southwest of the Azores.  Joyce was moving toward the south at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1003 mb.