Michael, the 13th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, became the first major hurricane of the season early Thursday morning as it moved northeastward in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Rapid intensification from a tropical storm to a Category 3 storm occurred in less than 12 hours as Michael entered a very favorable environment.
As of 5:00 p.m. EDT Thursday, Michael had become slightly weaker and was downgraded to a Category 2 storm. Michael should remain a Category 2 storm into Saturday, before possible weakening into a Category 1 storm occurs later Saturday night or Sunday, according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
Satellite loop of Michael from NOAA.
"As Leslie intensifies and becomes larger, it should influence the northward movement of Michael early next week. This will also exert increased shear over the storm [Michael], causing it weaken," Kottlowski stated.
Michael's path will also be over colder water, another factor that will favor weakening.
Michael will continue to stay away from any land mass during the next several days.
Besides Michael and Leslie, which is predicted to impact Bermuda and then Atlantic Canada, there is an area of thunderstorms associated with a piece of Isaac in the northern Gulf and another wave in the eastern Atlantic that will require watching in the coming days.
Severe thunderstorms with the risk of a few tornadoes will advance eastward across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest into Friday.
A dangerous outbreak of severe storms will strike the northern High Plains and Canadian Prairies on Wednesday.
Join us on Thursday for AccuWeather LIVE as we will discuss the debate of climate change and hurricane frequency and the top five things you need to know about summer weather.
A hot and humid weekend is shaping up for Chicagoland just in time for the official start of summer, while severe thunderstorms fire nearby to the north.
Tropical Storm Barry formed over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and may hit the Mexico state of Veracruz Thursday.
A tornado touched down at Denver International Airport as a severe weather system moved through the area.
Philadelphia, PA (1990)
Hail up to the size of marbles fell with wind gusts to 50 mph in the northeast part of the city.
Philadelphia, PA (1994)
Strong thunderstorm winds blew off a large section of a hanger roof and also damaged two aircraft.
Central Illinois (1964)
19th-20th) Hail as large as grapefruits battered more than 50 counties, causing crop and property damage totalling $9.2 million.