It is once again Hurricane Season for the United States, and the latest storm to target American has been Hurricane Michael off of the Gulf Coast.
The storm, which is currently at category 4, has been sliding north on the western edge of Florida at quite the clip. Meteorologists have described this as a “traditional” sort of hurricane, meaning only that it is moving swiftly and likely won’t be stalling and soaking the Florida Panhandle in the same way as Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area just months ago.
With Panama City Beach and the rest of the “Redneck Riviera” in the bullseye for the storm, webcams normally used to live vicariously during Spring Break are playing host to a number of amateur storm chasers.
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Pineapple Willy’s, a local favorite in Panama City Beach, had one of the more popular streams.
Another popular tourist destination, Sharky’s, provided another angle on the approaching storm:
And while keeping an eye on the storm from the comfort of your home or office is certainly thrilling, meteorologists were sure to clearly warn those in the path of this “monster” hurricane.
Satellite images of Michael’s evolution on Tuesday night were, in a word, jaw-dropping. A massive blister of thunderstorms (convection) erupted and wrapped around the storm’s eye, which has taken taking a surprisingly long time to solidify. A layer of dry air several miles above the surface being pulled into Michael from the west may have been one of the factors that kept Michael from sustaining a classic, fully closed eyewall (see embedded tweet below). A closed eyewall is normally a prerequisite for a hurricane to intensify robustly, but somehow Michael managed to reach Category 3 status without one.
Given the speed of the storm, there are even concerns of flooding here in Atlanta, Georgia, should Michael keep heading this direction.
Don’t worry, though, dear reader: I’ll be sure to charge up the laptop in case things get hairy, and you’ll continue to get your news and commentary during the event.