Widespread damage in Florida panhandle
Hurricane Michael, the strongest October hurricane on record, rapidly moved inland near Mexico Beach, Florida at 1pm on Wednesday afternoon. The powerful storm was just a notch under a category 5 hurricane at landfall, with winds of 155 mph and a central pressure of 919 mb. Michael becomes the strongest October hurricane on record to hit the US since Hazel in 1954. Only one other storm was this strong at landfall in Florida, hurricane Andrew in 1992.
The results of the storm were devastating, with the only saving grace being how fast Michael raced through Florida. Michael is located 30 miles west of Augusta, Georgia Thursday morning, with 50mph winds. The hurricane leaves behind a heavily damaged Panama City Beach and Mexico Beach on the Florida Gulf Coast. Thousands of buildings were damaged or destroyed, with trees and power lines down everywhere. A storm surge of nearly 15 feet flooded most of Mexico Beach. Boats are strewn across coastal highways or submerged at there moorings. Power is out to over 700,000 customers in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina this morning.
Now tropical storm Michael is forecast to move across the Carolina's today and off the Virginia coast Friday. Strong winds, coastal flooding and 5 to 10 inches (125-250 mm) of rain are possible along the track of the storm. Michael is forecast to become a strong post-tropical storm as it moves across the coastal waters of Atlantic Canada over the weekend. At this time, most of the weather associated with the storm should remain offshore of the Maritimes.
Backdoor cold front chills Montreal
In Montreal, Wednesday turned out to be a very odd weather day. The morning started off very warm and muggy, with a near-record high of 22C (72F). However a backdoor cold front, named for the "wrong" direction it moves in, from east to west, crossed the city by 9am. The front rapidly dropped the temperature in Montreal from 22 (72F) to 12C (54F) in less than one hour. The temperature remained there for the balance of the day, along with showers, gusty cold northeast winds and low clouds. Meanwhile just to our immediate south and west, temperatures soared into the upper 20s. This included a record high of 27.5C (82F) in Ottawa, smashing the old record of 23.9C (74F) set in 1955.
The summer-like weather will become history today, as a potent cold front moves across southern Quebec. Showers are forecast today, along with gusty northwest winds of 30 to 50km/h. The high temperature should reach 18C (65F) before cooling off late today. On Friday, expect clearing skies, windy conditions and a high near 11C (52F). The weekend should be partly cloudy, but feeling like fall, with high temperatures near 12C (54F) and overnight lows near the freezing point in many locations.