As Hurricane Michael begins its march across the Gulf of Mexico, Baldwin County officials are paying close attention to its path. Projections have it making landfall well to the east, but impacts were already being felt along Alabama beaches Monday, October 8, 2018.
Beach safety officials posted single red flags Monday morning, but decided to go to double red by early afternoon. The winds will likely be the main issue we’ll be dealing with over the next several days. Isaac Roddy was at the public beach with friends on a senior trip and saw the difference a day can make.
“Yesterday we were here and we could go out far and just enjoy it. Today, we had to stay closer to the beach and be careful and make sure no one got hurt…got carried off to sea.”
The most immediate concern is the rough surf conditions. Tides are already pushing 20 to 30 feet up the beach farther than normal with surf running four feet. This had already created dangerous rip current conditions and waters in Gulf Shores could be closed for several days.
“Possibly up until Friday morning,” said Lt. Melvin Shepard with Gulf Shores Beach Rescue. “We have another EMA meeting this afternoon so we’ll know a little bit more about what the storm is doing tonight and tomorrow. Once it makes landfall, hopefully it moves ashore and these waves will die down.”
Baldwin County Board of Education officials won’t make any scheduling decisions until after Tuesday’s mid-day briefing at the earliest. Schools are scheduled to be closed on Friday and Monday for fall break and that schedule won’t be affected. If we do see tropical storm-force winds, officials said it will likely have an impact on bus routes.
“There’s always concern of sustained tropical force wind or hurricane force winds so we have some additional time to continue monitoring, to make that decision and then at the appropriate time, we’ll make the call in the interest of student safety,” explained Anthony Sampson with Baldwin County Schools.
There will be another briefing at 11:30 Wednesday morning. No decision is expected to be made until sometime after that briefing and will be based on current storm projections.