How could Hurricane Michael impact Durham?

Tampa Bay under Tropical Storm Watch; Michael forecast to strike Panhandle as a midweek hurricane

The National Hurricane Center has warned that a "life-threatening" storm surge is likely to strike the Panhandle.

Now ranked as a category-1 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson wind scale, Michael could grow into a category-3 storm, with the power to uproot trees, block roads and knock out power for days by the time it hits Florida on Wednesday.

Michael is no longer a tropical storm. Comparable storms include Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which had a pressure of 922 mb, and Katrina in 2005, whose pressure was 920 mb.

"A northward to north-northwestward motion at a slightly faster forward speed is expected through Tuesday night, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday", noted the 4:00 p.m. EDT advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami. "PREPARE NOW", the National Weather Service said on Twitter on Tuesday.

It was forecast to have the power to uproot trees, block roads and knock out power for days by the time it hits Florida on Wednesday.

"If this storm hits Panama City, Tampa could still have storm surge", Scott said.

The coastal area from the Tyndall Air Force Base to the Aucilla River is expected to see the highest storm surge, with 9 to 14 feet predicted. "It will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe".

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Hurricane watches and storm surge watches have been issued along the Florida Panhandle.

The Philippine Embassy in Washington advised some 232,000 Filipinos in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and SC to "monitor the movement of the storm and heed the warnings of local officials", the DFA said in a statement. The hurricane warning stretches from Pensacola, Fla., eastward to near Cedar Key in the bend of Florida Panhandle.

Hurricane Michael is forecast to barrel its way through the states of Alabama and Georgia, as well as parts of MS and Tennessee, during the same day.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says Hurricane Michael is a "monstrous storm" that has the potential to be devastating to the Florida Panhandle. On Monday, he advised residents to ensure they had three days' worth of food, water and necessary medications. The storm could inundate more than one-fourth of that coast's dunes, causing flooding behind the protective dune line, said Kara Doran, leader of the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Storm Team.

Currently, Central Florida is only expected to experience some heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday.

Mandatory evacuations are underway for Citrus County residents living in Zone A, or in mobile homes.

A map posted by the National Hurricane Center Monday afternoon shows the Columbus area with as much as an 80 percent chance of experiencing tropical storm winds from Michael, which would be at least 39 miles per hour. A Category 1 hurricane has sustained winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour.

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