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

Courtesy MGN

Courtesy MGN

The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Hurricane Michael is a Category 1 storm and is still moving northward and will hit the northwestern coast of Florida.

Michael is forecast to make landfall later this week in Florida's panhandle as a Category 3 hurricane.

Tropical Storm Michael is currently on a path towards Florida and weather experts now believe the storm could strengthen into a category 2 hurricane. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads.

Less than 24 hours after Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 26 Florida counties, residents of the state's capital were already filling sand bags.

Florida's capital city of Tallahassee, which is in the Panhandle, opened two locations Sunday where residents could get sandbags to prepare for flooding.

CNN reports that such language is warranted, for Michael is now "slashing Cuba" and is expected to reach Category 3 status (with sustained winds from 111-129 mph) by Wednesday when it reaches the us mainland.

The storm was located by 2 a.m. ET Monday about 105 miles (170 kilometers) east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and moving to the north at about 4 mph (6 kph). A Category 1 hurricane has sustained winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour.

Unlike Hurricane Florence, Tropical Storm Michael, now located west of Cuba and packing 70 miles per hour winds, is a fast-moving storm.

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for...

Emergency preparations are underway across the Florida Panhandle as Hurricane Michael barrels towards North Florida.

Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich said anywhere from Panama City to Cedar Key, Florida could see significant storm surge from Hurricane Michael.

It is rare but certainly not unheard of for major hurricanes to strike the United States in October-after all, the season does not end until November 30. "This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky".

Scott said 500 Florida National Guard members had been activated for planning, logistics and response, and another 5,000 stood at the ready. "Don't take a chance", he said.

The chances of tropical storm winds are low but it is possible that strong gusts Tuesday night into Wednesday might reach tropical storm force.

GULF COUNTY RESIDENTS EVACUATION ORDERSMANDATORY EVACUATION:At the 10:00 AM emergency board meeting a mandatory... Leon County officials in Tallahassee were closing all schools from Tuesday through Friday. "The potentially worst impact will be the storm surge".

In the Caribbean, a hurricane warning is in effect for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio. "We know that a storm like Michael can be devastating and deadly".

Once the storm makes landfall on the Gulf Coast, it is expected to head northeast Wednesday and Thursday.

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