Tropical Storm Michael forms in the Caribbean

Tropical Storm Michael forms in the Caribbean

It has the potential to undergo rapid intensification when it enters the Gulf before turning northeast towards Florida.

Satellite wind data indicated the depression had strengthened Sunday morning with maximum winds of 40 miles per hour. It remains a category 1 hurricane and continues to strengthen.

The current forecast would bring Michael into the region as a moderate to strong tropical storm.

Michael became the 13th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season Sunday afternoon and has it sights set on the northern Gulf Coast by Wednesday. The National Hurricane Center expected Michael to become a hurricane later in the day. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at> a href="http://hurricanes.gov" *hurricanes.gov.A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. The current projection is Michael will be Category 3 with winds between 111-129 miles per hour when it reaches the coast. Overnight Tuesday, Florida Gov.

Scott said Michael could turn into a Category 2 storm with winds topping 100 miles per hour and could bring damaging storm surge.

"Michael could produce three life-threatening hazards along portions of the northeastern Gulf Coast: storm surge, heavy rainfall and hurricane-force winds", according to the hurricane center. "Don't take a chance".

Even though Michael is not going to impact us here in Southwest Florida directly, what you'll notice is an increase in winds, and therefore more choppy water by the middle of the week.

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The state of emergency covers 26 counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend areas.

Michael's path to the Gulf is also affecting politics in Florida.

Florida State University campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City plan to close Tuesday through Friday.

"Today, I will be declaring a state of emergency in counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend and directing the State Emergency Operations Center to activate".

Tropical storm warnings were already in effect for the Mexican coast from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, as well as Pinar Del Rio and the Isle of Youth in Cuba.

As of 5 a.m. Monday, Tropical Storm Michael reached winds of 70 miles per hour and is moving through deep, warm water as it approaches the Gulf of Mexico.

In eastern Georgia, the Carolinas and southern Virginia, 3-to-6 inch rainfall amounts are expected which could also lead to flash floods.

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