By Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist, Alabama Emergency Management Agency
CLANTON – 230 pm October 9, 2018
Hurricane and Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for portions of south Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle. Hurricane and Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for portions of south Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle. The main impacts for Alabama are expected near and south of I85 and east of I65. Because heavy rain and high winds will reach Alabama anytime after 8 pm tonight, all preparedness activities and evacuations need to be completed by then. It is expected that damage to buildings, widespread downed trees and power outages will occur, especially in the warned areas.
In addition, there will likely be last minute evacuees leaving FL and GA, and this could cause significant road congestion in AL. Thus, be where you need to be by 8 pm today and stay put in a safe location through Wednesday night. All threats will likely be over by sunrise Thursday.
Michael will make landfall Wednesday afternoon in the Florida Panhandle as a major hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph and higher gusts. Michael is a large storm with tropical storm force winds (39 – 73 mph) extending 185 miles from the center and these winds will reach Alabama well before landfall of the center of the storm. To put this in perspective, the NWS issues severe thunderstorm warnings for individual storms when winds are expected near 60 mph.
The main sustained wind impacts to Alabama will be from around 8 am Wednesday until 4 am Thursday morning. However, tropical storm force wind gusts in rain feeder bands could begin as early as Tuesday evening. You don’t want to be outdoors or making preparations once this starts.
Because of how large and 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 over all of the southeast US and emerges into the Atlantic on Friday morning.
For more information on an action plan, go to: https://www.ready.gov/hurricane-toolkit
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.