Hurricane Michael

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This article is about the 2018 Atlantic hurricane. For other storms of the same name, see Hurricane Michael (disambiguation).
Tropical Storm Michael TS
Michael 2018-10-10 1840Z.jpg
Satellite image

14L 2018 5day.png
Forecast map
Current storm status
Tropical storm (1-min mean)
As of: 11:00 a.m. EDT (15:00 UTC) October 11
Location: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. ± 25 nm

About 35 mi (60 km) SSE of Charlotte, NC

Winds: 45 knots (50 mph; 85 km/h) sustained (1-min mean)
gusting to 55 knots (65 mph; 100 km/h)
Pressure: 990 mbar (hPa; 29.23 inHg)
Movement: NE at 20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h)
See more detailed information.

Hurricane Michael is a weakening tropical cyclone tracking over South Carolina. With a minimum central pressure of 919 mbar (hPa; 27.14 inHg), Michael was the third-most intense hurricane to make landfall on the United States, behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille of 1969,[1] the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the Florida Panhandle, as well as the sixth-strongest landfalling hurricane in the United States by wind speed.

The thirteenth named storm, seventh hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. Michael originated from a broad low-pressure area in the western Caribbean Sea that became a tropical depression on October 7, after nearly a week of slow development. By the next day, Michael had intensified into a hurricane near the western tip of Cuba as it moved northward. Strengthening continued in the Gulf of Mexico, first to a major hurricane on October 9, and further to a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale. Approaching the Florida Panhandle, Michael attained peak winds of 155 mph (250 km/h) as it made landfall near Mexico Beach on October 10, becoming the first to do so in the region as a Category 4 hurricane. As it moved inland, the storm weakened and began to take a northeastward trajectory toward the Chesapeake Bay.

By October 10, at least fifteen deaths had been attributed to Michael and its precursor, including 13 in Central America and 2 in the United States. In Cuba, the hurricane's winds left over 200,000 people without power.

Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm according to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale

Early on October 2, the NHC began monitoring a broad area of low pressure that had developed over the southwestern Caribbean Sea.[2] While strong upper-level winds initially inhibited development, the disturbance gradually became better organized as it drifted generally northward and then eastward toward the Yucatán Peninsula. By October 6, the disturbance had developed well-organized deep convection, although it still lacked a well-defined circulation. The storm was also posing an immediate land threat to the Yucatán Peninsula and Cuba. Thus, the NHC initiated advisories on Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen at 21:00 UTC that day.[3][4] By the morning of October 7, radar data from Belize found a closed center of circulation, while satellite estimates indicated a sufficiently organized convective pattern to classify the system as a tropical depression.[5] The newly-formed tropical cyclone then quickly strengthened into Tropical Storm Michael at 16:55 UTC that day.[6] The nascent system meandered before the center relocated closer to the center of deep convection, as reported by reconnaissance aircraft that was investigating the storm.[7] Despite moderate vertical wind shear, Michael proceeded to strengthen quickly, becoming a high-end tropical storm early on October 8, as the storm's cloud pattern became better organized.[8] Continued intensification occurred, and Michael attained hurricane status later on the same day.[9]

The eye of Hurricane Michael seen from the International Space Station on October 10

Shortly afterwards, rapid intensification began to ensue as very deep bursts of convection were noted within the eyewall of the growing hurricane, as it passed through the Yucatán Channel into the Gulf of Mexico late on October 8, clipping the western end of Cuba, while a 35 nmi (65 km) wide eye was noted to be forming.[10] The intensification process accelerated on October 9, with Michael becoming a major hurricane at 21:00 UTC that day.[11] In addition, the central pressure in the eye was noted to have dropped about 20 mb (0.59 inHg) in the span of 6 hours into the first hours of October 10.[12] Rapid intensification continued throughout the day as a well-defined eye appeared, culminating with Michael achieving its peak intensity at 18:00 UTC that day as a high-end Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (250 km/h) and a minimum central pressure of 919 mbar (27.14 inHg), as it made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, ranking by pressure as the third-most intense Atlantic hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States.[13]

Once inland, Michael began to rapidly weaken, as it moved over the inner Southeastern United States, with the eye dissipating from satellite view, weakening to a tropical storm roughly twelve hours after it made landfall.[14]

Current storm information

As of 11:00 a.m. EDT (15:00 UTC) October 11, Tropical Storm Michael is located within 25 nautical miles of Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found., about 35 miles (60 km) south-southeast of Charlotte, North Carolina. Maximum sustained winds are 45 knots (50 mph, 85 km/h), with gusts to 55 knots (65 mph, 100 km/h). The minimum barometric pressure is 990 mbar (hPa; 29.23 inHg), and the system is moving northeast at 20 knots (23 mph, 37 km/h). Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km) from the center of Michael.

For the latest official information, see:

Warnings and watches

Tropical Storm Warning
Tropical storm conditions expected within 36 hours.
Storm Surge Warning
Life-threatening inundation from storm surge possible within 36 hours.


Central America

The combined effects of the precursor low to Michael and a disturbance over the Pacific Ocean caused significant flooding across Central America.[15] At least thirteen fatalities occurred: six in Honduras,[16] four in Nicaragua, and three in El Salvador. Nearly 2,000 homes in Nicaragua suffered damage, and 1,115 people were evacuated. A total of 253 homes were damaged in El Salvador, and 180 in Honduras.[15] More than 22,700 people were directly affected throughout the three countries.[16]


About 300 people evacuated in western Cuba due to the storm.[17] About 70% of the offshore Isla de la Juventud lost power.[18] High winds left 200,651 people without power in the province of Pinar del Río.[17] Officials sent 500 power workers to the area to restore electricity.[17]

United States

On October 7, Governor Rick Scott announced that he would be declaring a state of emergency for Florida if needed, advising residents to be prepared for the incoming storm.[19] That day, a state of emergency was declared for 26 counties, and then 9 additional counties were added on October 8. Governor Scott also requested that President Donald Trump issue an emergency disaster declaration for 35 counties, with Trump approving of the request on October 9.[20] Officials in Bay, Gulf, and Wakulla counties issued mandatory evacuation orders on October 8 for those living near the coast, in mobile homes, or in other weak dwellings.[21] Florida State University's main campus in Tallahassee and a satellite campus in Panama City are to be closed from October 9 through October 12, with classes and business expected to resume on October 15. Florida A&M University and Tallahassee Community College are closing several campuses through October 14, while weekend classes and events were canceled at the former.[22] Public schools were closed in 26 counties, mainly in the Florida Panhandle.[20] On October 8, Hurricane and Tropical Storm Warnings and Watches were issued for the Gulf Coast.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 92 counties in the southern and central portions of the state on October 9. Several colleges and universities in south Georgia are to close for a few days.[23]

375,000 people have been asked to evacuate as the storm strengthens, with sustained winds of 150 mph and storm surge up to 13 feet expected.[24]


Deaths by country
Country Deaths
Honduras 6
Nicaragua 4
El Salvador 3
United States 2
Total 15

Michael made landfall as a high-end Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (250 km/h), at 12:15 CST (17:15 UTC) on October 10, in Mexico Beach and near Tyndall Air Force Base.[25][26][1] On October 10, Florida Governor Rick Scott stated that Michael was the "worst storm that [the] Florida Panhandle has seen in a century."[27] One death occurred in Greensboro after a tree fell on a house.[28] A girl in Seminole County, Georgia died after a tree fell onto a house.[29]

Radio and television networks

Panama City's proximity to the eyewall and its associated strongest winds and storm surge resulted in the majority, if not all, of the city's television and radio stations rendered inoperable during and after the height of landfall. NBC affiliate WJHG-TV (channel 7) and CBS affiliate WECP-LD (channel 18) – both owned by Gray Television – were the first broadcast outlets to be affected, as their studio/transmitter link tower (which also housed the main transmitter for ESPN Radio affiliate WGSX [104.3 FM]) collapsed around 12:00 p.m. CDT on October 10, and parts of the roof of WJHG/WECP's studio facility were torn off.

ABC affiliate WMBB (channel 13) subsequently lost its main power and its backup generator around 12:15 p.m. CDT. (WMBB provided live coverage from its Nexstar Media Group-owned sister stations WFLA-TV in Tampa and WDHN in Dothan, Alabama on its website and cable feed afterward.) iHeartMedia's Panama City radio cluster – WDIZ (590 AM), WEBZ (99.3 FM), WFLF-FM (94.5), WFSY (98.5 FM) and WPAP (92.5 FM) – switched to programming from the company's Tallahassee cluster as Michael made landfall, before the STL tower at their facility was felled; station staff were reported trapped at the facility due to flooding that also crept into the building.

The respective radio clusters owned by Powell Broadcasting (WASJ [105.1 FM], WKNK [103.5 FM], WPFM [107.9 FM] and WRBA [95.9 FM]) and Magic Broadcasting II (WILN [105.9 FM], WWLY [100.1 FM], WYOO [101.1 FM] and WYYX [97.7 FM]) and Gulf Coast Community College-owned WKGC-AM-FM (1480 and 90.7) were also knocked off the air due to tower collapses or lost power. (WPAP and WFSY returned to the air during the evening of October 10 with locally originated coverage, with WKGC following suit with programming originating from the Bay County Emergency Operations Center and using WMBB staff.)[30]


Most intense landfalling U.S. hurricanes
Intensity is measured solely by central pressure
Rank Hurricane Season Landfall pressure
1 "Labor Day" 1935 892 mbar (hPa)
2 Camille 1969 900 mbar (hPa)
3 Katrina 2005 920 mbar (hPa)
4 Andrew 1992 922 mbar (hPa)
5 "Indianola" 1886 925 mbar (hPa)
6 "Florida Keys" 1919 927 mbar (hPa)
7 "Okeechobee" 1928 929 mbar (hPa)
8 "Great Miami" 1926 930 mbar (hPa)
Donna 1960 930 mbar (hPa)
10 Carla 1961 931 mbar (hPa)
Source: HURDAT,[31] Hurricane
Research Division[32]

With top sustained winds of 155 mph (250 km/h) and a central pressure of 919 mbar (hPa; 27.14 inHg) at landfall, Michael is the most intense landfalling U.S. hurricane since Camille in 1969, which had a central pressure of 900 mbar (hPa; 26.58 inHg), and the strongest by wind speed since Andrew in 1992, which had 165 mph (270 km/h) winds.[1] Along with 2017's Hurricane Maria and a typhoon in 1900, Michael is tied for the sixth-strongest tropical cyclone by wind to impact the United States (including its overseas territories), and is the fourth strongest to impact the U.S. mainland.[33]

Michael is the most intense recorded hurricane to have made landfall during the month of October in the North Atlantic basin (including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea),[34] and is one of two Category 4 hurricanes to have made landfall in Florida in October, the other being Hurricane King in 1950.[35] Michael is also the first recorded Category 4 hurricane to strike the Florida Panhandle since reliable records began in 1851.[36]

As it moved inland into southwestern Georgia, Michael weakened to a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 mph (185 km/h),[37] becoming the first storm to impact the state as a major hurricane since 1898.[38]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Hurricane Michael devastates Mexico Beach, Florida, in historic Category 4 landfall". Retrieved 10 October 2018. 
  2. Stacy R. Stewart (October 2, 2018). "NHC Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook Archive". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 7, 2018. 
  3. Jack Beven (October 6, 2018). "Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen Advisory Number 1". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 7, 2018. 
  4. John L. Beven (October 6, 2018). "Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen Discussion Number 1". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 6, 2018. 
  5. Robbie Berg (October 7, 2018). "Tropical Depression Fourteen Discussion Number 3". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 7, 2018. 
  6. Daniel P. Brown (October 7, 2018). "Tropical Storm Michael Tropical Cyclone Update". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 7, 2018. 
  7. Daniel P. Brown (October 7, 2018). "Tropical Storm Michael Discussion Number 4". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 7, 2018. 
  8. Robbie Berg (October 8, 2018). "Tropical Storm Michael Discussion Number 6". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 8, 2018. 
  9. Daniel P. Brown (October 8, 2018). "Hurricane Michael Discussion Number 8". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 8, 2018. 
  10. Stacy Stewart (October 8, 2018). "Hurricane Michael Discussion Number 10". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 9, 2018. 
  11. Daniel P. Brown (October 9, 2018). "Hurricane Michael Discussion Number 13". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 9, 2018. 
  12. Stacy Stewart (October 9, 2018). "Hurricane Michael Discussion Number 14". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 9, 2018. 
  13. Daniel P. Brown (October 10, 2018). "Hurricane Michael Intermediate Advisory 16A". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 10, 2018. 
  14. Jack Beven (October 10, 2018). "Tropical Storm Michael Tropical Cyclone Update". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved October 10, 2018. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Tres muertos y más de 1900 viviendas afectadas por lluvias". Confidencial (in Spanish). October 6, 2018. Retrieved October 7, 2018. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Al menos 9 muertos y miles de afectados por un temporal en Centroamérica" (in Spanish). October 7, 2018. Retrieved October 7, 2018. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 "Huracán Michael deja daños significativos en Cuba" (in Spanish). Conexión Capital. October 10, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018. 
  18. Benjamín Morales (October 8, 2018). "Michael se aleja de Cuba tras dejar daños en el occidente" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Dia. Retrieved October 10, 2018. 
  19. Ron Brackett (October 7, 2018). "Florida Governor to Declare State of Emergency Ahead of Potential Hurricane Threat". Retrieved October 7, 2018. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Gov. Scott: Federal Pre-Landfall Emergency Declaration Signed by the President". Florida Division of Emergency Management. October 9, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018. 
  21. Amber Roberson (October 8, 2018). "Hurricane Michael: First Florida evacuations ordered in Gulf County, others in panhandle". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved October 8, 2018. 
  22. "FSU closing Tuesday-Friday due to Hurricane Michael". WPTV. October 8, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2018. 
  23. Eric Strigus (October 9, 2018). "South Georgia college campuses closing in preparation of Hurricane Michael". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved October 9, 2018. 
  24. "Hurricane Michael - LIVE: Tropical cyclone on path for Florida hits Category 4 with 130mph winds". The Independent. Retrieved 10 October 2018. 
  25. "Hurricane Michael Hurricane Michael now making landfall". NASA SPoRT. October 10, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018. 
  26. "Category 4 Hurricane Michael makes landfall on Florida Panhandle". October 10, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018. 
  27. Richard Fausset; Patricia Mazzei; Alan Blinder (October 10, 2018). "Hurricane Michael Live Updates". The New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2018. 
  28. Rick Neale; Doyle Rice; John Bacon (October 10, 2018). "Hurricane Michael slams into Florida as Category 4 storm; rooftops torn off, one dead". USA Today. Retrieved October 10, 2018. 
  29. Tallahassee Democrat. October 11, 2018 Retrieved October 11, 2018.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. Lance Venta (October 10, 2018). "Hurricane Michael Takes Panama City Off The Air". Radio Insight. RadioBB Networks. Retrieved October 11, 2018. 
  31. National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division (June 4, 2015). "Atlantic hurricane best track (HURDAT version 2)". United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved October 21, 2018. 
  32. National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division; Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (February 2015). "Continental United States Hurricanes (Detailed Description)". Miami: United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research. Retrieved October 21, 2018. 
  33. Philip Klotzbach [philklotzbach] (10 October 2018). "Table of 10 strongest continental US landfalling #hurricanes on record as ranked by maximum sustained wind. Michael ranks 4th with sustained winds of 135 knots (155 mph) at landfall." (Tweet). Retrieved 10 October 2018. 
  34. Uhlhorn, Eric; Lorsolo, Sylvie (10 October 2018). "Why Hurricane Michael’s Landfall Is Historic". Air-Worldwide. Retrieved 10 October 2018. 
  35. Philip Klotzbach [philklotzbach] (10 October 2018). "Michael is the 2nd October Category 4 hurricane on record to make landfall in Florida - the other was Hurricane King in 1950." (Tweet). Retrieved 10 October 2018. 
  36. Philip Klotzbach [philklotzbach] (10 October 2018). "Hurricane Michael has made landfall with max sustained winds of 155 mph - the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle on record." (Tweet). Retrieved 10 October 2018. 
  37. Stewart, Stacy (October 10, 2018). "Hurricane Michael Update Statement". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 10 October 2018. 
  38. Philip Klotzbach [philklotzbach] (10 October 2018). "The last major (Category 3+) hurricane to track into Georgia was the Georgia Hurricane of 1898 (which made landfall in Camden County, GA). Since that time, no major hurricanes have made landfall in Georgia or have tracked into Georgia at major hurricane strength. Michael" (Tweet). Retrieved 10 October 2018. 

External links