Tropical Storm Michael forms, forecast to become hurricane

Tropical Storm Michael forms, forecast to become hurricane

Tropical Storm Michael forms, forecast to become hurricane

A tropical depression that formed Sunday morning is expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico and grow into a hurricane before striking the Florida Panhandle, forecasters say. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads.

Tropical Storm Michael is more organized Monday morning, and is a high end tropical storm as of the 8 AM advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

As far as wind goes, we can plan on 15-25 miles per hour sustained winds, with gusts over 40 miles per hour at times.

He added that the storm is forecasted to have similar impacts to Hurricane Hermine, which littered debris and knocked out power for days in Tallahassee and the surrounding area just two years ago.

Forecasters said they don't project the storm to reach hurricane force, but it could bring 3 to 7 inches (7.5 to 17.5 centimeters) of rain to western Cuba and 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) over the Yucatan Peninsula and Belize.

On Monday at 5 a.m., the National Hurricane Center issued the Tropical Storm Watch from the Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay. This is now the 13th named storm of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season.

However, over the next 24 hours or so, those winds are expected to subside and become more favorable, and additional strengthening of this system is expected as it passes across the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Because of the storm surge threat, three Florida Panhandle counties issued mandatory evacuation orders.

Scott warned that Michael could reach land as a Category 2 hurricane, with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour. "Don't take a chance", he said. Some flooding, and wind damage could be possible, depending on how much the storm strengthens, and how fast it moves over us.

Landfall is imminent on the Florida Panhandle coast Wednesday afternoon.

Florida State University said its campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City will be closed from Tuesday through Friday. The governor's declaration activates the state's emergency operations plan, according to Ivey's office. A warning for the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, was canceled late Monday.

The NHC warned that both could trigger deadly flooding, and that residents within the hurricane warning zone should likewise "prepare for life-threatening winds".

The hurricane center warned that the storm could produce a foot of rain in western Cuba, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas.

"Our state understands how serious tropical weather is and how devastating any hurricane of tropical storm can be", Scott said in a statement.

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