Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

"Michael" Could be in Our Forecast by End of Week

There's also a warning in effect for the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche.

Right now, the National Hurricane Center predicts a landfall along the Florida panhandle on Wednesday.

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.

Less than 2 inches of rain is forecast for South Mississippi, although it could be higher if feeder bands send multiple storms over the same areas, according to Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy.

The storm is expected to further strengthen into a hurricane in the next couple of days as its center travels over the Yucatan Channel, crosses the Gulf of Mexico and nears the Florida Panhandle coast around Wednesday.

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center measured maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, upgrading Michael to a Category 3, nearly Category 4. The system is moving to the north-northwest at 3 miles per hour.

The winds have increased to 35 miles per hour. Tropical Storm Michael is already a fairly good-sized storm.

The latest guidance shows Michael strengthening into a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall.

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WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area by this evening or tonight, making outside preparations hard or risky.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Michael.

Forecasters predicted Michael would be a major hurricane - Category 3 or stronger - by the time it arrived Wednesday.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe", he said in a briefing Sunday evening.

Tropical Storm Michael is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane Monday afternoon and impact the Gulf Coast by the middle of the week.

Andrew Gillum, the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee who is vying to succeed Scott as the state's governor, has called off campaign events on Monday and Tuesday to focus on storm preparation, CNN reported.

Before Michael hits the United States, it's expected to dump 3 to 7 inches of rain on western Cuba.

The Florida Panhandle, Big Bend and southern Georgia were expected to receive as much as 8 inches (20 cm) of rainfall, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches that may lead to severe flash flooding.

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