Evolving storm Michael expected to slam Florida as hurricane

Evolving storm Michael expected to slam Florida as hurricane

The latest track shows a weakening Michael moving either directly through, or at least near central Georgia as a tropical storm.

Michael became a hurricane early Monday, forecasters said, crossing a critical threshold as it churned by the western tip of Cuba.

As of the 5 p.m. advisory, Michael is now a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

The storm was expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico, where very warm water temperatures and favorable atmospheric conditions were expected to fuel its strength, Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the Miami-based storm forecasting hub, wrote in an advisory. Landfall is now forecast as a Category 2 with 110 miles per hour, but a Category 3 is possible given the recent rapid intensification.

After landfall, Michael is expected to weaken as it tracks quickly northeast, and the forecast track brings the center across southeast Georgia and southeast SC in the Wednesday night and Thursday time period.

Tropical Storm Michael formed on Sunday in the Caribbean Sea and appears to have designs on the panhandle and big bend regions of Florida, according to early forecast tracks. It is expected to cut quickly across the Peach State toward the Carolinas and areas flooded severely last month by Hurricane Florence. Serious hurricane effects will not be restricted to coastal areas and may extend further inland, potentially affecting the Tallahassee area.

A hurricane watch had been issued for the Florida Panhandle and a storm surge warning for areas between Navarre, Fla., and Anna Maria Island, Fla., including Tampa Bay.

Scott declared an emergency in 35 counties and has asked President Trump for help ahead of the storm. The governor warned people who live in the Big Bend and Florida Panhandle to prepare for flooding and high winds. Tomorrow we will start seeing the effects of Michael and those in its path will need to take shelter by tomorrow evening.

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By 11 a.m. Monday, Michael's top sustained winds were around 120 kph.

Michael has strengthened into a hurricane and is forecast to strike the northeast Florida coastline as a Category 3 with risky storm surge flooding, destructive winds and flooding rainfall.

Scott activated 500 National Guard troops in advance of the storm.

More information on the specific impacts of Hurricane Michael will be available as the storm gets closer to Horry.

As the storm moved north it battered Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba with drenching rains and winds of up to 80 miles per hour (130 kph), forecasters said.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe", Scott said at a press briefing.

Another national, Neil Fung, said the storm looks like " a major one".

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