Tropical Storm Michael, Heading North, Could Become Category 2 Hurricane

Monday, it became the seventh hurricane of 2018 in the Atlantic Basin.

The Florida Panhandle is on alert as Tropical Storm Michael works its way to the northern part of the Sunshine State. As of the 4am advisory, Michael is nearly a hurricane with sustained winds of 70 miles per hour.

"Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area along the U.S. Gulf coast by Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Tuesday night or early Wednesday".

The storm was about 220 kilometres east-northwest of Cozumel, Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of winds of 120 kilometres per hour, forecasters said.

Tropical Storm Michael is currently on a path towards Florida and weather experts now believe the storm could strengthen into a category 2 hurricane.

Rick Scott issued a state of emergency for 26 counties on Sunday, as member station WFSU reports. Although the outer bands of the storm could bring some higher rain chances to the area, those living or visiting the Orlando area will not be feeling very much in terms of gusty winds or torrential downpours.

The NWS release said there is considerable uncertainty regarding the track, intensity, and timing of Michael, but confidence is increasing that it will directly impact the southeast Georgia and southeast SC area. The hurricane was predicted to dump up to 12 inches (30 cm) of rain with life-threatening flash flooding, according to forecasters.

More news: Tropical Storm Michael Will Become a Hurricane Monday

He added that the effects of the storm could have similarities to Hurricane Hermine, which caused lengthy power outages in the Tallahassee area two years ago.

Predictions from the National Weather Service say the area can expect 2 to 4 inches of rain and it has a good chance of seeing tropical storm wind speeds. But within a few hours it gained more strength and by Sunday evening, it had top sustained winds of 95 kph.

The government of Cuba has issued a Hurricane Warning for the western portion of the island.

"Steady to rapid strengthening is forecast during the next day or so, and Michael is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday or Tuesday night", the National Hurricane Center warned. From there, the storm will quickly move northeastward into the Carolinas by Thursday. "Tropical storm conditions are expected over the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula and the Isle of Youth today", the center said.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida Monday and Tuesday, but he said he would return to Tallahassee to help with storm preparations.

"Citizens can not accept new policies or policy changes for additional coverage when a tropical storm or hurricane watch or warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for any part of Florida", the states second-largest homeowners insurance company wrote on its site Monday.

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