Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Hurricane Michael | Michael strengthens to Category 3 storm

Storm Michael could soon form, hit U.S. midweek “Michael” Could be in Our Forecast by End of Week
Faye Gross | 11 October, 2018, 05:12

A tropical storm off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula has rapidly strengthened and could become a risky hurricane before an expected midweek strike on the Gulf Coast in the Florida Panhandle, forecasters said Monday.

Tropical Storm Michael is continuing to organize in the northwestern Caribbean Sea, near the Yucatán Peninsula.

The tropical storm is expected to swell into a Category 1 hurricane as soon as Monday night as it rolls into the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, with winds of 70 miles per hour, forecasters said.

Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Sunday for 26 counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region, said that the storm will be slow, strong and will bring a risky storm surge.

"Strengthening is forecast during the next several days", the hurricane center said.

The forecast is subject to change and everyone is urged to monitor storm updates. It's expected to then become a hurricane Monday night or Tuesday while crossing the eastern Gulf of Mexico on a forecast track that would reach the Florida Panhandle sometime Wednesday.

The next tropical storm name on the hurricane center's list is Michael.

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Rick Scott already declared a state of emergency in 26 counties in the northern part of the state on Sunday. It will weaken into a tropical storm near the Carolinas and Virginia on its way back to the Atlantic Ocean, forecasters said. Heavy rains and storm surge will also be a concern. It was moving north around 7 miles per hour.

Despite wind shear being in place, Michael continues to gain strength!

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 was about 990 miles east-northeast of Bermuda and about 1,170 miles west of the Azores, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.

Officials are urging residents to be prepared by making sure their cars are filled with gas and hurricane supply kits are stocked.

Michael's trek to Florida is also affecting politics in the state.

Tropical storm force winds, which extend 175 miles from Michael's center, could reach Florida as early as Tuesday night.

Besides the hurricane watch, a tropical storm watch is in effect from the Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay, as well as from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

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