Even a casual observer looking at satellite loops tonight could tell we have a major hurricane over the eastern Gulf. The latest NHC update has winds up to 125 mph with projected 130+ at landfall making him a Cat. 4 storm tomorrow. Michael continues a steady movement to the north at 12 mph with slightly faster movement expected as he makes landfall late morning/early afternoon on Wednesday. Computer models have been remarkably consistent in his track and NHC has slightly shifted the new track to east of Panama City, which is better news for Pensacola, Ft. Walton & Destin. The worst part of the storm will be from Panama City eastward. For the past 3 hours our surface pressure has begun rising telling me this storm is NOT coming closer to us. In addition, our winds are slowly switching from the east to NE and eventually to the north by daybreak. That change in direction will stop the flow of water into Lake Pontchartrain and we should see water levels decreasing during the day on Wednesday and more so on Thursday. While we’ll see very little impacts from this powerful storm, parts of the Florida Panhandle will be crushed with power outages that will last days & weeks. Since the storm will be making landfall during the daylight hours, expect to see some dramatic videos of reporters trying to stand outside during the peak winds. Hopefully none of them will be stupid enough to put their lives at risk. As mentioned earlier, do not try to travel east of Pensacola/Destin for the next several days. If you have property along the beach, wait until power has been restored and roads cleared before you try to access damages. This is a major hurricane unlike anything that has hit that part of Florida in decades. Keep them in your prayers. Michael will then head quickly into Georgia & the Carolinas bringing them heavy rains & power outages before finally racing out into the open Atlantic.
I’ve received word that the “Fat lady” has booked her flight to NOLA and is scheduled to sing Thursday evening. All signs point to several cold fronts plowing through us during the next 7-10 days bringing back sweater weather. Too bad they will not arrive soon enough for the Florida Panhandle. Stay tuned!