By Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist, Alabama Emergency Management Agency
CLANTON –4 pm October 8, 2018
At 3 pm CDT, Governor Ivey declared a statewide State of Emergency for Alabama due to Hurricane Michael.
A Tropical Storm Warning and a Hurricane Watch is now in effect for Baldwin and Mobile Counties, and a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for portions of south Alabama. Currently, the main impacts for Alabama are expected near and south of I85 and east of I65, as well as Baldwin and Mobile counties, where downed trees, power outages and some flash flooding will occur.
Michael is forecast to make landfall Wednesday afternoon in the Florida Panhandle as a major hurricane with sustained winds of 120 mph and higher gusts. Tropical storm force winds (39 – 73 mph) extend 175 miles from the center and that’s why a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for south Alabama.
The main sustained wind impacts to Alabama will be from around 8 am Wednesday until 2 am Thursday morning. However, tropical storm force wind gusts in rain feeder bands could begin as early as Tuesday evening. All preparedness activities need to be completed by sunset Tuesday.
Because of how strong Michael will be at landfall, it will take much longer for winds to decrease as the center moves inland. Michael will still be a tropical storm in South Carolina at 1 pm Thursday. It is expected that in addition to life threatening storm surge along the Florida coast, flooding rains and widespread trees will be downed with power outages across Georgia.
For more information on an action plan, go to: https://www.ready.gov/hurricane-toolkit
For those at the beach, life threatening Rip Currents are likely through at least Thursday night. Make sure to heed the advice of local beach patrols and flag warning systems.
More detailed forecast information can be found at https://weather.gov and clicking on the area of the state where you live. This will direct you to the local National Weather Service Office that serves your area.