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Hurricane Michael still is a few days away from landfall in the Gulf of Mexico and officials are urging Wilsonians to get prepared for wind and rain.
“Michael is very, very different from Florence in a lot of different ways. Florence made landfall in North Carolina and was a very large, very slow-moving storm with a lot of rainfall over a long period of time,” said meteorologist Kathleen Carroll of the National Weather Service in Raleigh. “Michael will be making landfall in the Gulf around the (Florida) Panhandle and moving quickly to the northeast and off into the north Atlantic, so rainfall we get will be quicker hitting and hopefully the amount of rainfall will be much less.”
The weather service forecast calls for scattered showers in the beginning part of this week. As Michael nears landfall, Wilson could receive 3-5 inches of rain with gusty winds Wednesday and Thursday.
“We are expecting the greatest impacts of Michael to be felt across eastern North Carolina during the day Thursday and overnight,” Carroll said. “By Friday morning — based on the current forecast model — we expect Michael to be off the coast of New Jersey. Once Michael is over the Atlantic, that is it. We’ll dry out and looking forward, we’ll have a strong cold front kick the heat out of here for a while.”
Wilson County Emergency Management Director Gordon Deno said the greatest worry in terms of the hurricane is those who are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Florence.
“Hurricane Michael has the potential for heavy rains and heavy winds,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of rain already because of Florence and a lot of damages to the south and east of here, so depending on where the storm tracks, it could be much more detrimental to folks who already were affected by Florence.”
How Hurricane Michael evolves as it nears the Carolinas could mean more or less affect on Wilsonians, so officials are urging people to be vigilant and prepared in case of power outages and flooding.
“Because Florence was so recent, there are still a lot of folks who lost a lot and now there is another storm coming through,” Carroll said. “We know folks will be worried and they should be paying attention to it, but it is not going to be as long-lasting as Florence was.”