Tropical storm conditions could arrive with Michael by late Thursday

Published 6:51 pm Monday, October 8, 2018

On the heels of Hurricane Florence may come another storm, from another direction.

Hurricane Michael upgraded to a category 1 hurricane on Monday, and was located just west of Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasts have Michael on a track to hit the panhandle of Florida, then make a sweeping turn up through Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina before skirting up the East Coast.

“While it is still too early to detail any potential specific impacts, tropical storm force winds, periods of heavy rain, and isolated tornadoes will be possible across portions of eastern NC,” read the Newport/Morehead City National Weather Service update on Monday afternoon.

“It is something that we’re watching,” said Chris Newkirk, chief of fire/emergency management with Beaufort County Emergency Services. “We’re not expecting anywhere near the impacts that we saw from Florence, but we are expecting some impacts. Right now, it’s just a little too early to say what that is.”

Michael is expected to make landfall along the Florida panhandle as a Category 3 hurricane on Wednesday, according to a press release Newkirk emailed Monday afternoon. The storm is then expected to travel northeast and its remnants are expected to impact the area Thursday and early Friday. For Beaufort County, that could mean between 2 and 5 inches of rain, as well as winds greater than 15 mph.

“Basically, we’re expecting trop storm conditions,” Newkirk said, adding that the timing is not good for those who sustained damage from Hurricane Florence.

“Our biggest concern is for those who have repairs to their homes and structures or are making repairs. If you’ve got a tarp on your roof right now, any amount of rain and wind is going to be a concern,” Newkirk said.

Key points from NWS Newport/Morehead City are:

  • Strong winds could bring down weakened trees and dislodge tarps over rooftops;
  • It’s too early to know exact track, but it’s not too early to review your hurricane plan;
  • Monitor trusted, official sources of information.

“The timing is bad, but, as with many things, it could be worse,” Newkirk said. “For us, it’s just something that we need to continue to pay attention to in the next couple days.”