Michael upgraded to hurricane, forecast to become major hurricane

Geraldine Edwards
October 9, 2018

The hurricane, which was upgraded from a tropical storm to a Category 1 system on Monday, is expected to reach the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday.

The advisory added Michael will present "risk of life-threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall an risky winds increasing for the northeastern Gulf Coast".

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.

A hurricane watch has been declared for the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida.

"Life-threatening storm surge is possible along portions of the Florida Gulf Coast regardless of the storm's exact track or intensity", the center said.

Swells are already expected to start impacting eastern and northern parts of the Gulf of Mexico in the next or so and are likely to cause "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions".

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Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, but instead threw himself into helping his city's residents fill sandbags and make other preparations.

"Currently, the National Hurricane Center predicts that turn toward the east will happen more north after the storm hits landfall, but if Michael were to slow down it could shift east while it's further south, placing it much closer to Tampa Bay", Hurts said.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a Hurricane Watch from the Alabama-Florida line eastward to the Suwanee River, Florida. A Category 1 hurricane has sustained winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour.

According to an alert published by the Cuban Civil Defense, meteorologists warned affected residents that they could experience hurricane-force winds. The governor warned people who live in the Big Bend and Florida Panhandle to prepare for flooding and high winds.

As the storm interrupted numerous political campaigns across Florida, including his own, Scott warned it could come ashore in the next couple of days with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour.

An Air Force hurricane hunter airplane was sent into the storm to investigate, the hurricane center said.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for several areas in Florida on October 7, and "also directed the Florida National Guard to activate 500 guardsmen to assist with planning and logistics, and to prepare for response in impacted areas".

Hurricane Michael continues to push towards the Gulf of Mexico and looks to continue its trend of rapidly strengthening.

Manatee County is under storm surge and tropical storm watches.

Interests along the northeastern and central Gulf Coast areas are advised to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Michael.

County commissioners will receive and update from Public Safety officials Tuesday morning, Azzara said. At this point we are trying to iron out the magnitude and placement of those impacts, which of course depends on the exact track of the storm. Tropical storm warnings are posted for the Isle of Youth in Cuba and the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, including Cozumel.

Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued over the northeastern portion of Mexico's Yucatan Penninsula and the western portions of Cuba ahead of the storm.

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