Hurricane Michael continues to strengthen under very warm waters, and Michael is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane on Tuesday.
Satellite images show the storm is becoming more organized as convection now wraps around the entire center of the storm. The major change in the forecast is the strength of Michael as it approaches the Gulf of Mexico coast.
The storm has been battling upper level wind shear; however, the storm is continuing to move into an environment that is more conductive for development. Ocean water temperature are very warm, and there is abundant moisture in the atmosphere. All indications are Michael will be a major hurricane at landfall, which is expected on Wednesday. Hurricane Warnings have been issued across Florida and a portion of Alabama.
Once the storm makes landfall, a cold front approaching from the west will pick up Michael and move northward quickly. The good news is the storm will not stall as Florence did, so rain totals are expected to be lower. The bad news is the storm will bring strong winds further inland. Notice that the storm is still expected to be a tropical storm in South Carolina on Thursday afternoon.
From the mountains to the coastal plain of NC is expected to see 2-6 inches of rain from Tuesday through Thursday evening. The heaviest rains are expected on the eastern side of the storm, and this is also where the severe weather threat remains the highest.
I am continuing to monitor the situation and will keep you updated.