The tropical disturbance we have been tracking over the northwestern Caribbean Sea became Tropical Depression 14 early Sunday morning, then it intensified into Tropical Storm Michael Sunday afternoon. Tropical Storm Michael will likely be the biggest player in our weather in the Tennessee Valley this week. The impacts locally will be rain, mainly on Wednesday. Tropical systems often can change global weather patterns. We do expect a pattern change to result from Michael. That pattern change will mean much cooler air late this week and next weekend, and we will finally feel more like October.
Tropical Storm Michael will track into the southern Gulf of Mexico by midday Monday and then intensify, becoming a hurricane Monday night or early Tuesday. The storm will accelerate northeastward early Wednesday. Further intensification may mean landfall as a category 2 hurricane with 110 mph.
The latest forecast brings Michael inland over the Florida Panhandle between Panama City and Apalachicola. It's important to not focus on the center as impacts will be experienced well away from the center. Coastal storm surge flooding of 7-10 feet, 3-6 inches of rain, 80-100 mph winds and occasional tornadoes are all possible.
In the Tennessee Valley, it's all about rain on Wednesday. Rain is possible all day. The most widespread and heaviest rain will be most probable over Sand Mountain. Rainfall amounts of a half-inch to an inch are possible from I-65 east to the Georgia state line. Rainfall amounts will generally be less than a half-inch west of I-65. Locally higher amounts are possible in spots. The tornado threat will pass east of the Tennessee Valley unless the track of the storm shifts significantly to the west.
Then there's the global weather pattern change that results from Michael. Noticeably cooler air will arrive in the Valley on Thursday. Lows will drop into the lower 50s. Highs will drop into the upper 60s and lower 70s through next weekend!
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