STAY INFORMED: Get the (free) First Alert Weather app
Historical hurricane Michael - post storm photos & video ** here **:
Preliminary measured wind gusts - no doubt winds were much higher in some spots which will be determined in post storm studies.....
The next 2 images provided by Dr. Phil Klotzbach, CSU:
Hurricane Michael went through a rapid intensification cycle Tue. - Wed. - a "once in a generation" type landfalling hurricane for the Florida Panhandle & will go down as the strongest Oct. hurricane to make landfall on U.S. soil. This will surpass hurricane Ivan in 2004 as the most severe Panhandle hurricane as well as hurricane Opal in Oct., 1995 & - arguably - the strongest Gulf Coast hurricane since historic Camille in Aug., 1969 which was a much more compact hurricane.
Michael hit the Fl. Panhandle as a "major" near Cat. 5 hurricane a little before 2pm EDT 20 miles southeast of Panama City near Mexico Beach.
Michael is steadily marching east/northeast & will move off the coast of the Carolina's Thu. evening then over the Western Atlantic where there will be a transition to a strong extra-tropical low pressure while moving quickly north/northeast.
Michael moved offshore near Chesapeake Bay with no tropical systems threatening the U.S. despite a still active Atlantic Basin.
While business is back to normal for NE Fl./SE Ga., it's a much different story for parts of the Virginia, W. Virginia, Maryland, the Carolina's, Georgia & the Fl. Panhandle & Big Bend where travel will be severely hampered & power may be out for days if not weeks.
Historically - going back to about the mid 1990s - we should have been wary of Oct. hurricanes given certain conditions (warm water, decreasing shear, increasing upper level ventilation thanks to an approaching upper level trough of low pressure) which were in place for Michael - see "Buresh Blog" - Matthew (Fl.) 2 years ago (Sun., 10/07!)... Joaquin (Bahamas & El Faro) in 2015... Sandy (NY, NJ) in 2012.... Wilma (Yucatan &Fl.) in 2005... Mitch (Central America & Fl.) in 1998... Opal (Fl.) in 1995.
Microwave energy time lapse has been most impressive.... courtesy CIMSS:
The overall pattern through the first 2+ weeks of Oct. has favored tropical development over the Atlantic Basin. The velocity potential anomaly map below indicates expansive green lines - upward motion - spreading from the E. Pacific into the Atlantic Basin, part of a MJO (Madden-Julian Oscillation) pulse. This phase has peaked, & the Atlantic Basin will be quieter soon but realize the hurricane season continues through Nov. 30th.
Note the secondary peak of the hurricane season in mid Oct.:
Meanwhile... Long-lived Leslie has finally picked up steam & is rolling east/northeast over the Eastern Atlantic before turning south again once the storm begins to weaken off the NW coast of Africa(!). Forecast models are & have been at odds but indications are now that Leslie could make a rather rare landfall on Spain &/or Portugal over the weekend as a tropical storm or strong post-tropical storm.
AND(!).... tropical storm "Nadine" is slowly moving west over the Eastern/Central Atlantic but shear is hammering the tropical cyclone which should soon cause dissipation. Dr. Phil Klotzbach says this is the farthest east that a tropical storm has formed so late in the season.
Atlantic Basin "tri-fecta": Michael, Leslie & Nadine. In addition... a tropical wave is forecast to develop into an area of low pressure over the W. Caribbean late this weekend with some tropical development possible before moving into Central America. Looks like this system will stay far south of the U.S.
Mid & upper level wind shear (enemy of tropical cyclones) analysis (CIMMS). The red lines indicate strong shear:
The Atlantic Basin.....
Water vapor imagery (dark blue indicates dry air):
Deep oceanic heat content is seasonably high over the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico & SW Atlantic as one would expect in the fall....
Sea surface temp. anomalies:
SE U.S. surface map:
Surface analysis centered on the tropical Atlantic:
Surface analysis of the Gulf:
The E. Pacific remains active....
After becoming annular, hurricane Sergio has been rapidly weakening while speeding northeast hitting the Central Baja of California early Fri. The storm's remnants will affect parts of Mexico & the Southwest U.S. through the weekend as a deep upper level trough sets up shop over the Western U.S. & shoots Sergio to the northeast toward New Mexico & W. Texas.
© 2020 Cox Media Group