Out of Nowhere
It seemingly sprang up out of nowhere. Fueled by favorable wind conditions and above-average water temperatures, Hurricane Michael blew up from a tropical depression to a Category 4 Hurricane in the matter of three days. While it appears at this point that Michael will make landfall as a Category 4 Hurricane, that did not seem to be the case three days ago. Weather models, especially the GFS-the favored model of the National Hurricane Center-predicted a substantially greater wind shear than what ended up happening. Wind shear refers to wind blowing in different speeds and directions at different altitudes within the atmosphere. Having strong wind shear essentially rips a hurricane apart by pushing and pulling at it from all different directions. Without the strong wind shear yesterday and today, Michael was able to rapidly develop. The illustration below shows what hurricanes will do when there is and when there is not strong wind shear. Unfortunately for the folks of Florida, Michael is taking the scenario demonstrated by the right side of the picture.
Although landfall is inevitable at this point, there are still slight differences in the track that will have a major impact in terms of the devastation. This is because of questions whether or not the bullseye of the Hurricane will track through Panama City, a significant population center on the Florida Panhandle, or just to the east, impacting a far less populated area of the state. As of now, the model trend seems to be pushing Michael just to the east of Panama City. We shall see if this comes to fruition.
Will Central New York be Impacted?
No. Thankfully, a cold front that will move through the area later today will help to steer the eventual remains from Hurricane Michael well east of our area, with the storm forecasted to move out to sea after it exits the continental U.S. along the Carolina Coast.