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

Tropical development likely in the Gulf over the next few days	 	 	 			Tropical development is looking more likely this week

Tropical development likely in the Gulf over the next few days Tropical development is looking more likely this week

The storm will move quickly, exiting the Piedmont by Friday morning as it turns east and heads offshore.

Tropical Storm Michael is expected to become a hurricane on Monday and was on track to hit the Florida Panhandle midweek, with the potential to pack winds of at least 100 miles per hour (160 km per hour), the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. "Remember, this storm could grow stronger and be a Category 3 hitting our state". Outer rain bands of the storm are expected to also produce total rain totals of 2-4 inches across the Florida Keys through Tuesday. The storm is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and heavy rain to there on Wednesday, and then it heads inland toward Georgia and the Carolinas.

For DC, although the current track keeps the center of Michael southeast of our area, it will still influence our weather.

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

Through Monday morning, the storm is set to lash the eastern Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba, which were under tropical storm warnings, with heavy rain and gusty winds. The system was located just east of the Yucatan Peninsula and moving northward at 7 miles per hour.

The warm waters could intensify the storm to near major hurricane status before landfall late Wednesday somewhere near Florida's big bend although the cone of uncertainty covers the 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 unsafe", Scott said during a press conference.

The governor warned that storm surge could affect areas of Florida not in the storm's direct path.

"Nearly all of the intensity models bring the cyclone to hurricane strength over the Gulf of Mexico in 2 to 3 days", the 10 a.m. Sundayforecast discussion by the National Hurricane Center said.

Florida's capital city of Tallahassee, which is in the Panhandle, opened two locations Sunday where residents could get sandbags to prepare for flooding.

Downed power lines and downed trees are possible.

A coastal flood advisory was issued for Monday and Tuesday in South Mississippi and Louisiana as the storm enters the Gulf of Mexico.

The city of Pensacola tweeted to residents, "Be sure you have your emergency plan in place".

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