NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Hurricane Michael grew so quickly it caught many Floridians off-guard.
Its wind speed increased by 72 percent in less than 33 hours.
Meteorologist Lonnie Quinn explained why and how that happened on CBS This Morning.
“I’m using this analogy: It’s like this storm had eyes,” Quinn said. “You look at Monday – Monday it was south of Cuba. It was a tropical storm. You look at two days later, it’s coming on shore as a Category 4, almost a Category 5. It was basically a Category 5 with the damage it put together.”
Quinn said Hurricane Michael had to take the perfect track between a mass of dry air to the west and land to the east.
“Either one would ruin that storm, and if you notice, it went right through the perfect track,” Quinn said. “The first thing it had to do is perfectly thread the needle of the Yucatan channel. It cannot encounter the Cuban mountains. It also cannot encounter the Yucatan peninsula. Well, it shoots it perfectly.”
Michael then managed to avoid the mass of dry air that might’ve diminished the storm’s ferocity. It then took a track that put it over the warmest water the Gulf of Mexico has to offer, running about four degrees warmer than average. Then it made landfall with a perfectly formed, intense eye.
“As of late, we’ve been watching all these storms stall, meander. This one never stalled at any point in time,” Quinn said. Since it formed as a tropical storm, “it has never moved any slower than 10 to 13 mph in terms of its forward progress. So it covered a lot of real estate quickly.”