Tropical Storm Michael: Here We Go Again

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"Steady to rapid strengthening is forecast during the next day or so, and Michael is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday or Tuesday night", the NHC said.

Michael is forecast to eventually make landfall as a major hurricane Wednesday morning along the Florida panhandle.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in more than 20 counties along the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend on Sunday.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky", he said after receiving a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.

Hurricane Michael is expected to strengthen rapidly over the next 24 to 36 hours and will be "a risky major hurricane when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast on Wednesday", the National Hurricane Center says.

Manatee County also was included in Scott's request that President Donald Trump declare a pre-landfall emergency in those 35 counties in preparation for Hurricane Michael.

"Do not take a chance on storm surge", Scott said.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued on Monday for residents in various areas in Gulf County, Florida, according to a statement from county emergency officials.

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As of 8 a.m. EDT Monday, the storm was centered about 120 miles (190 kilometers) east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and moving to the north at about 7 mph (11 kph). The center of the storm is forecast to make landfall somewhere between Pensacola and the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.

On Monday morning, Michael was about 70 miles west of Cuba and had sustained winds of 70 mph range with higher gusts, said the National Hurricane Center.

The center of Michael is expected to move across the Yucatán Channel - a strait between Mexico and Cuba - Monday, slowly making its way across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through Wednesday.

In some parts of the Florida coast, storm surges are projected to approach eleven feet. Tropical storm winds extended out 175 miles from the storm's center.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...

The National Hurricane Center has issued a Hurricane Watch from the Alabama-Florida line eastward to the Suwanee River, Florida. Pfaff said people should monitor the storm and identify any weak trees or infrastructure that could lead to debris in Michael's wake. "Local amounts of 6 inches" could fall in some areas, producing flash floods, the NHC said.

Michael is unique, according to Masters, because it developed out of Central America, rather than an African wave — like most hurricanes.

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