Hurricane Michael is intensifying now in the Gulf of Mexico, but its impact on eastern Virginia is still uncertain.
Forecasts show Hurricane Michael will likely travel north after making landfall on the Gulf Coast, then turn east, potentially hitting the Hampton Roads region.
The storm’s track and strength are still uncertain, but eastern Virginia could see rain as early as Thursday night, NWS meteorologist Jeff Orrock said.
Most of the rain and wind will likely be on Friday and Saturday.
The amount of wind the area could see is not yet clear.
But Orrock said even if the hurricane heads this way, it’ll likely pass quickly.
“The good news is, if anything, it’ll be moving so quickly that by the time it gets up to mid-latitudes in the Carolinas or Virginia, it’s going to get in and out of here really fast,” Orrock said.
Michael, which increased to a Category 1 hurricane midday Monday, will rapidly intensify over the next 24 to 36 hours, Orrock said.
Two major questions have yet to be answered: How far north will Michael track, and when will the storm turn east?
“Any way you look at it, we’ll get rain from this system to some degree,” Orrock said, adding as time moves on, the storm’s track will become more clear.
The details on flooding in Hampton Roads are still unclear as well.
Storms can force the tide in or out, which means possible flooding, but a recent dry spell locally means the ground can withstand more rainfall, Orrock said.
“We can take quite a bit of rain, but the folks in the Carolinas can’t right now,” Orrock said.