Good Wednesday Morning and once again apologies on this being a little late this morning. There have been some adjustments in the track of Michael overnight due to the storm becoming stronger than originally forecast. Michael is now a very dangerous category 4 hurricane and indications are that it is still strengthening. The storm is about 105 miles southwest of Panama City Florida and moving North. That movement is important. The storm has not taken that Northeast jog yet, placing it on the western side of the update track. The National Hurricane Center track and position will now be updated hourly until landfall occurs later today.
The impacts dont stop there. Michael will accelerate North and eventually NNE through the day today. This storm is now expected to maintain category 1 hurricane status all the way until it reaches a position just barely SE of Charlotte tomorrow. The storm will have the strongest winds on its east and northeast side. Unfortunately that means another strong storm for our neighbors down East. The storm will maintain a strong tropical storm status until it exits off the East coast near Hampton Roads VA Friday Morning.
Locally impacts have changed. Still talking about a very low tornado threat on the NW side of the storm. That is the good news. The bad news is that Michael will now interact with a frontal boundary closer to our area. Wind gusts have been increased due to this interaction between the front and the hurricane. I have also adjusted rainfall up a tick to account for a more prolonged heavy rain event. In the western counties of Burke, Caldwell, McDowell, and Rutherford you will notice a more widespread rainfall total forecast. The highest totals in those counties will be along the East and especially the Southeast facing slopes.
My concern is growing for a greater flood potential in Catawba, Cleveland, and Lincoln Counties for Thursday. In those three counties I bumped totals up another category. That will need some further attention with our next update that will come out during the early afternoon, around 2:00pm.
Alexander County your impacts have went up too but right now I was conservative on your rainfall numbers due to the current track but again, that too will need more attention from us through the day as we nail this thing down along with our partners at The National Weather Service.
Stay tuned and here are the latest graphics.