On 5 October 2018, a low-pressure system developed over Central America and began inundating the region with heavy rainfall. The low-pressure system later converted into Hurricane Michael, which is now threatening the southern coastal regions of the United States of America.
Hurricane Michael According to the United States of America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Hurricane Centre (NHC), Hurricane Michael’s eye was located near latitude 29.4 North, longitude 86.0 West at 1100 AM Atlantic Standard Time (AST) (1500 UTC). Michael is moving toward the north-northeast near 14 mph (22 km/h). A turn toward the north-east is expected this afternoon or tonight (10 October 2018). A motion toward the north-east at a faster forward speed is forecast on Thursday, 11 October through Friday night (12 October). On the forecast track, Michael’s core is expected to move ashore along the Florida Panhandle early this afternoon, move north-eastward across the south-eastern United States tonight and Thursday and then move off the Mid-Atlantic coast away from the United States on Friday.
Data from NOAA and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 145 mph (230 km/h) with higher gusts. Michael is an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane on the SaffirSimpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some strengthening is still possible before landfall. After landfall, Michael should weaken as it crosses the south-eastern United States. Michael is forecast to become a post-tropical cyclone on Friday, and strengthening is forecast as the system moves over the western Atlantic.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). A private weather station at Bald Point, Florida, recently reported a sustained wind of 54 mph (87 km/h), with a gust to 61 mph (98 km/h). A wind gust to 46 mph (74 km/h) was recently reported inland at Tallahassee, Florida.
The latest minimum central pressure based on data from the reconnaissance aircraft is 928 mb (27.41 inches).
A total of 300 people had to be evacuated to the homes of neighbours or relatives in the province of Pinar del Río (municipalities of Sandino and San Juan following the passage of Michael; additionally, a high percentage of this province is without electricity and Michael damaged the roofs of some homes.
In the province of Artemisa, particularly in the areas of Playa de Majana and the towns of Cajío and Guanímar, which are prone to coastal flooding, evacuations of people are being carried out; however, the number of evacuees is currently unknown.
For the time being, there is a response with local resources and a good response from the government, which has followed up on its national response plan, as well as the fulfillment of its alert and evacuation phases.
Flooding and Mudslides in Central America
Torrential downpours from two low-pressure systems along Central America and the Caribbean resulted in flash floods and mudslides across Central America. As of early Wednesday, 10 October, at least 13 deaths have been reported (6 in Honduras, 4 in Nicaragua, 2 in El Salvador, 1 in Costa Rica) and thousands of people have been evacuated, the Associated Press reports.
Additionally, as Hurricane Michael moved towards the US’ Gulf Coast from the coast of Honduras over the weekend, a counter-clockwise flow of air around low-pressure systems brought a moist flow of Pacific air inland over Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, bringing 48-hour rainfall amounts in excess of 10 inches (25cm) to some areas. This low-pressure system continued to bring heavy rains to portions of the Pacific coasts of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras through Monday, 8 October, bringing dangerous flash flooding and mudslides 1 . Alerts are still in effect in Central America due to ongoing precipitation of up to 300 to400 mm.
Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala have all issued emergency alerts.