Hurricane Watches Up For Florida Panhandle For Rapidly Intensifying Michael
Michael is expected to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane.
Michael is the 13th named storm and 7th hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. It is destined to become the fourth named storm to hit the U.S. this year, and most likely the strongest at landfall. The other three were Subtropical Storm Alberto (May 28 near Pensacola, FL), Category 1 Hurricane Florence (September 14 near Wrightsville Beach, NC), and Tropical Storm Gordon (September 4 near the MS/AL border). On average, the U.S. is hit by three named storms each year, with one of them being a hurricane.
Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are between 29 - 30°C (84 - 86°F) across the northwest Caribbean and eastern Gulf, which is 1 - 2°C (2 - 4°F) above average for this time of year.
Even though it is early October, no cold fronts have yet chilled the waters near the central Gulf Coast, so very warm surface waters are in place to support Michael right up to landfall.