07 October 2018

Tropical Depression 14 forms and is expected to become Hurricane Michael this week

The large disturbance we've been watching for at least a week finally became a tropical cyclone on Sunday morning... Tropical Depression 14 is centered 100 miles east of the central Yucatan peninsula and is drifting northward at 3mph.  It is forecast to become a tropical storm today, at which point it will be named Michael.

Enhanced satellite image of TD14 on Sunday morning. (CIRA/RAMMB)
By Saturday morning, models had come into remarkable alignment and all showed a tropical storm or hurricane intensifying in the Gulf of Mexico and reaching the northern Gulf coast around Wednesday (if you missed it yesterday, this was my update on Twitter).  This agreement has only solidified since then, and all models now indicate a hurricane making landfall between MS and the eastern FL panhandle on Wednesday. The NHC forecast showing the most likely arrival time of tropical storm force winds is included below (latest available here).  Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the northeast corner of the Yucatan peninsula as well as far western Cuba.

Once the lead time closes in a little more, storm surge guidance will become available for the Gulf coast.  There will definitely be several feet of storm surge in the northeast Gulf coast... exactly when the peak arrives and where the maximum will be will come into clearer focus with time. But the surge-prone Big Bend area of Florida is a sure bet for coastal flooding.

As always, rainfall will be a large threat from this, with a heavy swath from the FL panhandle then up into GA, SC, NC, and VA.  Note that Florence-soaked coastal North Carolina could see quite a lot of rain from this as well.  Gusty wind and heavy rain are fairly likely up into PA, NJ, and the Delmarva region on Thursday.

One-week rainfall forecast, valid from Sunday morning through next Sunday morning. (NOAA/WPC)
I suspect that hurricane and storm surge watches will be issued for parts of the northeast Gulf coast on Monday morning, but stay tuned to NHC forecasts and advisories especially if you're in this area.


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