Michael strengthens to a hurricane as it moves north into the Gulf of Mexico

Hurricane Central

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCBD) – Michael became a hurricane on Monday morning. Sustained winds measured 75 mph as of the 11 AM advisory, and now has winds of 90 mph as of 11pm Monday.

The latest track take Michael to a category three in the Gulf of Mexico by late Tuesday then it holds steady as a major hurricane as it tracks toward the panhandle of Florida. Once Michael make landfall, the storm is expected to rapidly weaken to a tropical storm as it passes over the Carolinas.

There is still some timing issues with the models. The GFS shows the storm moving at a quick pace over the next several days, clearing the Southeast Coast by Friday. The Euro is slower, with Michael not reaching the Atlantic until late Friday. The current thinking is the Lowcountry feels the impacts from Michael Wednesday and Thursday but we need to keep our eyes on the Friday forecast.

Another issue with the models is the east to west spread. And that track has a big impact on the potential effects for the Lowcountry. A further west track, over the Southern Appalachians would lessen the wind impacts and the tornado potential. But a further east track would give us a better chance to see tropical storm force winds and higher gusts plus the higher chance for isolated tornadoes.

What we do know is Michael brings us needed rain. Most areas would see 3″-5″ of rain with locally higher amounts. This would compound issues we are already seeing this week with coastal flooding due to higher than normal high tides.

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