First Alert Weather: Category Four Michael strengthens

Thirteen foot storm surge near where the eye of Michael makes landfall is now forecast. In the last twenty four hours the storm has gone from a Category One to a strong Category Four. It is possible that the storm will become even stronger before making landfall near Mexico Beach near Panama City

Waves propagating outward from hurricane Michael as well as increasingly onshore winds will cause our tides to run 2 or 3 feet above normal. This could lead to some difficult driving on some flooded roads in coastal communities.

Additionally, winds will be elevated. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH is up for coastal Manatee county but the risk of sustained tropical storm winds is small. The likely range for wind speed is 15-25 mph with gusts to 30-35 mph. Inland wind speeds will be much less. These wind speeds can lead to isolated power outages but are not a threat to well built structures.

There will be periods of rain, some heavy, especially in the first half of the day. The storms will be fast moving and should not create any problems with fresh water flooding as some tropical systems do.

Tomorrow our winds will relax and shift to the northwest. This will draw in some drier air and lead to a very nice weekend featuring warm and dry days with cooler and crisp evenings.

John Scalzi