(Worthy News) - Hurricane warnings and storm surge warnings are flying for much of the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region as a steadily intensifying Hurricane Michael steams northward at 12 mph over the warm waters of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Michael is expected to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday afternoon as a Category 3 hurricane.
Multiple hurricane hunter aircraft were in Michael on Tuesday morning, and reported that Michael had reached high-end Category 2 strength, with 110 mph winds and a central pressure of 965 mb. The hurricane hunter data showed that Michael had an unusual structure for a hurricane of this strength. Two of the three center fixes between 6 am - 8 am reported that no eyewall was present, with numerous spiral bands forming a ragged boundary for the 35-mile diameter eye. The eye was elliptical and not very warm—just 2 – 3°C warmer than the air just outside the eye. All of these factors suggested that Michael was having trouble with moderately high wind shear of 15 – 20 knots driving dry air into its core.
Michael was bringing heavy rains to the Florida Keys and western Cuba, as seen on Key West and Cuban radar. NHC was calling for storm-total rainfall amounts of 4 – 8” over western Cuba, with isolated totals of 12”. Rainfall amounts of 2 – 4” were predicted for the Florida Keys and 1 -2” for Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The highest 24-hour rainfall amounts over the past two days in western Cuba were near 8”, according to INSMET. [ Source: Weather Underground (Read More...) ]