PHILADELPHIA (CBS)– A tropical storm that formed over the weekend near the Yucatan Channel is now the seventh hurricane of the 2018 season. Hurricane Michael, as of the 2 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, is a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, located 20 miles southwest of the western tip of Cuba.
Landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast this week is near certain. Recent model data is in reasonable agreement in projecting a Florida panhandle or Big Bend region landfall, potentially as a major hurricane. Interests in and near this area should begin preparations.
Florida State University in Tallahassee announced today the cancellation of classes from tomorrow through Friday in advance of the storm.
Tropical storm and hurricane track forecasting has made dramatic improvements in recent decades. A three-day track forecast in the 1980’s had an error margin of nearly 350 miles, whereas today that margin is 100 miles, a reduction of nearly 250 miles.
That said, it’s important not to focus exclusively on the center point or path of the cone of uncertainty, as all locations within and near to the forecast cone should monitor the storm and have a plan for possible impacts.
Here in the Delaware Valley, we’ll likely contend with the remnants of Michael later this week. Tropical moisture in combination with a strong cold front looks to yield a heavy rain and thunderstorm threat Thursday and Thursday night. Stay tuned to the evolving forecast.