Hurricane Michael Will Send Waves To Texas, Possible Destruction To Florida
The latest spinner in a wild hurricane season.
After all the freshwater wedges over last few months, Texas is about to get some proper salt-water waves. Unfortunately, the Florida panhandle’s going to take it on the chin.
Over the last 24 hours Hurricane Michael has been steadily strengthening in the Gulf of Mexico and is now expected to make landfall in Florida by midday Wednesday. Most recently, Michael has been upgraded to a Category 2 storm with sustained wind speeds of 110. A quickly moving storm, by the time it makes landfall it’s expected to be a Category 3 situation. The evacuation of over 120,000 people along the Gulf coast has already begun.
“Michael could develop into a potentially catastrophic event for the northeastern Gulf Coast,” explained the National Weather Service office in Tallahassee, Florida. “Michael could be the strongest hurricane to landfall along the stretch of Florida’s Panhandle Gulf Coast in 13 years.”
The forerunners of the storm are already being enjoyed by Florida Gulf surfers like Sterling Spencer, who posted a photo of himself slotted in an overhead barrel this morning. With the storm moving as fast as it is, their window for success is short.
But the Texas coast is another story. After all the wave pool hype lately, it’s time to get back in the ocean. There are nearly 400 miles of coastline in Texas and most of it is never surfed because of a major lack of a consistent swell source. But Michael looks like it’s going to be pushing plenty of energy their way over the next 48 to 72 hours.
“It’s definitely the talk of the town right now,” said Jon Steele, a photographer based in the Corpus Christi zone. “But there are a lot of variables and we’ll just have to see how this all plays out with the winds. It’s victory at sea right now.”
Getting the winds right is a huge component of scoring a hurricane swell like this in Texas and the most opportune periods for surf may only last an hour or two. Some surfers are headed south in search of more groomed conditions, others are headed towards Galveston to see what kind of nooks and crannies they can uncover. Steele was undecided as to what his next move was.
“The reality is, you could do a lot of driving and come up empty-handed,” continued Steele. “Storms like this are what Texas surfing is all about. You try your hardest to be in the right place at the right time and hope for the best. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. It takes a lot of patience and time waiting for everything to come together.”
Another issue Texas surfers will be dealing with are the jellyfish. According to Steele, storms like this are notorious for bringing jellyfish to the coastal waters. Whether they blow in on the wind or their population balloons with the influx of warm water, they make hurricane hunting that much more challenging for the dedicated Texas contingent.
At this point the swell looks like it may peak on Wednesday with some solid, overhead surf, but as Steele noted, the winds could be problematic. The best option may be the day after the storm when there’s still some leftover swell in the water and the atmospheric elements are more cooperative.
Whatever happens in Texas, it’s time to get out of the pool and head to the beach.
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