Post-tropical Cyclone Michael has moved offshore, but not after bringing serious destruction and flooding to the Florida panhandle. As we move into this weekend, hopefully we’ll see the last of our tropical troubles for this year as Sergio brings heavy rains and flooding to the Southwest. And finally, after a seemingly never-ending summer, cooler temperatures will be felt across the country and even the first few snowflakes are possible in parts of the Northeast.

Welcome to this week’s Friday edition of your Morning Briefing. Let’s get started.

Historical Hurricane Michael and its Lasting Impact:

  1. Flooding will continue in parts of VA and NC today as post-tropical cyclone Michael makes its way out to sea. It is expected to race northeastward across the Atlantic as a low pressure system.
  2. Rivers in southeastern VA are not expected to lower from moderate and major flooding of almost 30 ft until later this weekend, causing problems for homes and roadways near them.
  3. Damage from this monster storm is yet to be fully assessed in many areas of the Florida Panhandle. Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed, and so far 11 people have been confirmed dead. 1.5 million continue to lack power. Rebuilding will be a long process that could take months, especially in areas like Panama City and Mexico Beach that saw the brunt of Michael.

Panama City Harbor left in ruins after Hurricane Michael on Wed., October 10, 2018. (Eric Thayer/The New York Times Redux)

Now a post-tropical cyclone, Michael finally made its way off the VA coast. However, the last of his rains and clouds won’t move off of US soil until later this morning. As we say goodbye, it is immediately time to assess the widespread destruction that the storm brought. Working our way backwards through his track, Michael, although post tropical, was able to bring significant flooding and winds of almost 60 mph to VA and NC. Many places in VA, specifically where the storm’s low pressure center made its way through, will remain under a flood watch. Some rivers in VA have seen flooding of almost 30 feet from Michael, and flooding is not expected to go down significantly until late this weekend, or even early next week. Flooding was widespread across NC as well; many roads became impassable due to flooding and fallen tree as Michael tore through. Three tornadoes were confirmed to have touched down in GA, killing one person and leaving much destruction in their wake. Looking at the Florida Panhandle, Michael made landfall as the 4th strongest hurricane to ever to hit the US mainland. The category 4 storm ripped through with 155 mph max sustained winds, which are equivalent to an EF-3 tornado. Millions are without power, from FL to VA, and so far the death count from this storm has been raised to 11. Places like Panama City, Mexico Beach, and Apalachicola will not look the same for months. Rebuilding in these areas will take months, even years, as damage is still being assessed.

Tropical Storm Sergio to Bring Possible Flooding to the Southwest:

  1. Tropical Storm Sergio is currently located over the Baja California peninsula with max sustained winds of 45 mph and is expected to continue on a northeastward track towards the southwestern US today into tomorrow.
  2. Flooding of 2-3 inches is possible for parts of TX, AZ, and NM as heavy rains from this storm track into this area. Thunderstorms may also develop, causing potentially higher flooding locally.
  3. This system will continue to move northeast over the Lower Mississippi Valley, with OK and AR seeing a few inches later this weekend.

Tropical Storm Sergio has made landfall this morning along the Baja California coast with a central low pressure of 998 mb and max sustained winds of 45 mph. While this may seem like nothing compared to what we just saw with Hurricane Michael, it is still a storm watch. As of this morning, guidance shows Sergio is expected to move northeastward over northwestern Mexico and into Texas late Friday night. Although its expected to weaken greatly in terms of wind speed, Sergio still carries tropical energy in the form of rain. Sergio is expected to bring heavy rains to parts of the Southwest starting tonight into tomorrow. Flash flooding is possible in parts of TX, AZ, and NM until tomorrow as showers and thunderstorms will be possible throughout the next two days, bringing possible totals of 2-3 inches to NM and TX. Even after dissipating, this system is expected to move across the Lower Mississippi Valley, continuing to bring heavy rains and possible thunderstorms to those areas.

Major Cool Down Across the US and Possible Snow in the Northeast:

  1. The oppressive high pressure ridge that has previously dominated the Southeast has finally moved on. This new pattern over the country allows cold Canadian air to finally settle over the US.
  2. The Northeast can expect temperatures over the next few days to be around the 50s and lower 60s along the coast, and even colder around the 40s inland. A system over NY and New England on Saturday brings the possibility of high elevation snow as well.
  3. Even the Deep South will see relief from the heat this weekend as they experience temperatures in the 50s and 60s.

As post-tropical cyclone Michael finally makes its way offshore today, a new upper level pattern will bring colder weather to most of the country. The Northeast will see significant cooling from the 80 degree weather we saw earlier this week, as temperatures will be in the 50s for much of NY, PA, and New England today. As we move into the weekend, colder temperatures only get more pronounced. Many parts of the northeast will barely reach 50 degrees Saturday, truly bringing the fall weather we’ve all been waiting for. Even in the South, temperatures will remain, for the most part, below average, finally bringing some respite to the oppressive heat they’ve been feeling long since summer’s astrological end. A system moving into the Northeast from the west is likely to bring precipitation during the day on Saturday, and could mean the first light snow of the season for the highest elevations. Snow is likely at high elevations over the northern Appalachians, Catskills, and Adirondacks on Saturday. It may not bring any significant accumulations, but it is exciting, and is a sign that we are finally moving into lasting colder weather.

Make sure to subscribe to The Morning Briefing on the right-hand side of this article so we can send you them straight to your inbox for free.

Also remember to lookout for The Sunday Storm this upcoming Sunday evening as well as Five Things to Watch This Week next Monday.


Kathleen is a Meteorologist at WeatherOptics, where she works writing content for the website, providing accurate and detailed forecasts to clients, and consulting on various meteorological projects. Kathleen earned her B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in 2018 from Stony Brook University. Kathleen has also done research into our changing climate by investigating theRole of Atmospheric Rivers on Arctic Amplification in 2017.

Comments are closed.