Storm Michael could soon form, hit US midweek

Storm Michael could soon form, hit US midweek

Tropical storm and storm surge watches have been issued from the Mississippi-Alabama border to Tampa Bay.

An Air Force hurricane hunter airplane was sent into the storm to investigate, the hurricane centre said.

This image shows the projected path of Tropical Storm Michael on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Michael is packing top sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph) and is about 105 miles (170 kilometers) east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. The low is expected to become a tropical depression later today and a tropical storm by tonight.

Updates 2:30 p.m. Sunday version with emergency declared, new details: Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday declared a state of emergency in Northwest Florida as a looming hurricane threatens to hammer the region in the middle of the week.

Florida's Panhandle and big bend area came under a hurricane watch Monday morning after Tropical Storm Michael rapidly intensified from the day before, poised to become a major hurricane before it makes landfall later in the week. "Remember, this storm could grow stronger and be a Category 3 hitting our state".

After the storm moves inland, it could dump additional unwanted rain on the Carolinas, which were battered by Florence in September.

Godsey said winds in the tropical storm range could result in downed trees and power outages.

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"We expect Hurricane Michael to make landfall between Panama City, Florida, and Apalachicola, Florida, sometime later Wednesday or Wednesday night", AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said in a report.

"The current forecast indicates the storm entering the Gulf of Mexico by Monday morning, strengthening to a hurricane by early Wednesday and likely targeting the Florida panhandle by late Wednesday", CNN meteorologist Gene Norman said.

As of the 11 a.m. advisory Monday, the NHC upgraded Michael to a category 1 hurricane, with winds of 75 miles per hour.

The storm at 8 a.m. was travelling with 35-mph winds.

Tropical storm conditions are possible in Flagler County on Wednesday and Thursday, the Weather Service office in Jacksonville said Sunday, warning that minor flooding might be possible in low-lying or poorly drained areas.

It triggered flash-flooding warnings for that area and western Cuba.

With Scott running for U.S. Senate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum running for governor, the threat of the storm quickly affected this fall's elections.

The city of Pensacola tweeted to residents, "Be sure you have your emergency plan in place". Monday will bring sustained east southeast winds at 10-20 miles per hour, with occasional higher gusts.

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