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FirstWatch Weather is made possible by a team of future meteorologists. Our goal is to provide quality forecasts for the United States and surrounding areas. We want to alert and prepare you for severe weather headed your way, whether it is an afternoon thunderstorm, a windstorm, hurricane, tornado, blizzard, heat wave, or cold wave.

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Heads Up! Michael Set To Slam Florida Panhandle

October 9, 2018: 10:37 P.M. E.T.
By: Christopher M. (FirstWatch Weather Chief Forecaster)

This is the latest infrared satellite imagery from NASA’s Satellite, which I got off of Tropical Tidbits. These infrared satellite images measure the temperature of the cloud tops in the storm. The colder the cloud top, here it is the darker brownish colors, the higher the clouds are in the atmosphere, which means that there is a lot of convection occurring in the eyewall, allowing the storm to gain strength.

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Satellite Imagery Courtesy of Tropical Tidbits and NASA GOES

However, the hurricane doesn’t look as strong as it did earlier, as you can see in the loop, because it is appears to be undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle. 

The eyewall of a tropical cyclone is a big ring of tall vertical thunderstorms surrounding the eye that produce intense rainfall and also have the strongest winds in the storm. When the structure of the eye and eyewall change, wind speed may change. The eye of the storm may shrink or grow and the eyewall may duplicate, forming two eyewalls; the inner and the outer. Very strong cyclones sometimes have some of the rainbands organize into one ring of thunderstorms called an outer eyewall, which may take moisture from the eyewall, which causes the storm to weaken. However, in other cases, the outer eyewall may simply replace the inner eyewall, which causes the storm to regain its intensity or become stronger than previously. The second scenario is what seems likely at this point.


Right now, the winds are at 110 knots, which makes the storm a Category 3 storm, however, some models suggest it is pushing toward Category 4. And as you can see, this is a fast moving system. This system will not stall, this is completely different than what we saw with Florence a few weeks ago.

The current water temperatures are 82 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the exact water temperature that sustains tropical cyclones. With that in place, and the eyewall replacement cycle going on, I see NO chance of this storm slowing down as it approaches shore. The only weakening I see from this storm is when it slams the Florida coast, as the moisture supply to the storm gets cut off. But warm water isn’t the only thing that powers a tropical cyclone. As water evaporates, it rises and cools with altitude. This cooling causes the water vapor to condense into water droplets we see as clouds. Heat is released in the process of condensation and the heat released increases the temperature in that area of the atmosphere making the air lighter which allows it to rise even further. As this occurs, the denser and cooler air sinks and undercuts the warm air, which is felt as very strong wind at the surface. This is why the storm loses power and intensity as it moves over land; there is a lack of moisture and heat being supplied to the storm, causing it to dissipate quickly, as we mentioned earlier.

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Map courtesy of

Now, setting aside meteorology for modelology, we are going to look at what the models have to say. Before we go into that, I would like to say that I for one do not like using models ALONE to predict where a hurricane will make landfall, but models are a vital factor in weather forecasting. And when we look at the models, all are in very good agreement. The GFS actually performs pretty well with the European model. There is very high certainty that this storm will slam the Florida panhandle. It is a good thing that both Alabama and Florida have declared a State of Emergency as this system plows into the coast by midnight tomorrow. Heads up Tallahassee and Pensacola!

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Now, with the models combined, our FirstWatch Weather forecast is showing this storm will slam the Florida panhandle as a Category 3 or 4, but quickly become a tropical storm. From there, it should move up through the Southeast as a depression before moving out to the Atlantic as a low pressure system.

As I said, before this is a fast moving system, which means this will be gone as soon as it came.

Now, one thing the models did not pick up is the high pressure northeast ridge we got, which is going to make the system repel from the Northeast Atlantic.

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And for those of you not within direct threat, it doesn’t guarantee you are safe from some sort of impact. Many will see high storm surges and others will see lots of flooding due to the amount of rain associated with this storm. Locally, areas could see an upward of 12 inches of rain. The last thing I would like to add, is that October hurricanes are a good implication of a cold winter for the eastern U.S. So, we will see how this plays out folks. Anyhow, for the time being, please check on loved ones, family, and friends. Please be safe everyone.


Global Temperature Update – August 2018 | 0.1745°C

The ClimateGuy

According to Dr. Roy Spencer‘s and Dr. John Christy’s measurements, the global lower tropospheric temperature anomaly for August 2018 was 0.19°C above the 1981-2010 long-term average. This is down 0.13°C from July 2018, which was 0.32°C.


UAH Global Temperature Anomaly for August 2018 | 0.19°C via


Meanwhile, the global land and sea surface temperatures for August were lower than the global lower troposphere, at 0.159°C above average, down 0.066°C from July, which was 0.225°C.

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NECP Global Temperature Anomaly for August 2018 | 0.159°C via WeatherBELL


Because the UAH dataset only includes the global lower troposphere, and NECP only includes the land and ocean surface, both are NOT totally 100% accurate global temperature measurements in my opinion. In order to find the actual anomaly, we need to average both datasets together. When we do this, we get 0.1745°C for August 2018, which is the coolest month since July of…

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This year we have went from one extreme to the next in temperatures. In Northwestern PA, after an unbearable string of days that ranged from 15 to 20 degrees above average temps, we are now experiencing 15 to 20 below average.

Wide temperature variations are making gardening very difficult. First, it was too hot to go and weed IF you were fortunate enough to have gotten seeds and plants in. Now, it has become cold enough that we have lit a fire in the woodstove. We are crossing our fingers that these wide swinging temperatures will not encourage fungus, mold and insect pests.

I am sure this will be a summer full of strange surprises as we venture further into the GSM!

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