Trinis watch for Hurricane Michael

An are of low pressure in the far western Caribbean is expected to develop into a tropical depression or even a tropical storm on Sunday. Michaels is the next name up. The storm could threaten the U.S. Gulf Coast by Wednesday

Steady to rapid strengthening is forecast during the next day or so, and Michael is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday or Tuesday night.Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles (45 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).The estimated minimum central pressure based on Air Force Reserve reconnaissance data is 982 mb (29.00 inches).HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND -- STORM SURGE: The combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

Hurricane Michael will make landfall along the Gulf Coast Wednesday as a Category 3 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A review of data maintained by the Agency for Health Care Administration shows that, in 33 counties encompassing the western half of the state south to Hernando County and east to Putnam County, more than half of the 412 assisted-living facilities and nursing homes have yet to implement their emergency power plans.

"I've issued a State of Emergency in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds & heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael", Gov. Ivey tweeted. All of central Georgia is at risk for damaging winds.

For us here in the Tennessee Valley, the system could help enhance showers and storms in North Alabama mid-week, but significant impacts still look to be confined to the south and southeast. Up to a foot of rainfall (30 cm) is forecast for some areas.

The governor issued the warning after a briefing by Pasco's emergency personnel at the county's emergency operations center, the hotspot for county officials and first responders during and after a storm. However, Fanara said, Michael's strong winds also could stir up pollution and nutrients in the water that feed algae blooms. US producers in the Gulf cut oil production by about 40 percent and natural gas output by 28 percent on Tuesday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. The partial shutdown ahead of Michael helped push oil prices slightly higher on Tuesday. Western Cuba was also forecast to get torrential rains. More than 5,000 National Guard soldiers have been put on alert. Some 17,000 utility restoration workers were also on call. The storm continues to gain organization and Michael will likely become a hurricane later today.

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In Panhandle counties, most state offices, schools and universities were closed for the rest of the week.

BP Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp on Monday began evacuating personnel from Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production platforms. Those who stayed emptied grocery store shelves of water and other supplies. "Storm surge can occur before, during, or after the center of a storm passes through an area".

Rob Docko, a resident of Panama City, Fla., secures his boat at the St. Andrews Marina on Sunday in preparation for Hurricane Michael.

A map posted by the National Hurricane Center Monday afternoon shows the Columbus area with as much as an 80 percent chance of experiencing tropical storm winds from Michael, which would be at least 39 miles per hour. However, forecasters always note it is not possible to say where a hurricane will land until it is closer to the coast. Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay flooding prolems on Thursday, and possibly a some river flooding on Friday.

Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith said his deputies had gone door to door in some places along the coast to urge people to evacuate.

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