Hurricane Michael expected to strengthen as it approaches Florida

Tropical Storm Michael Will Become a Hurricane Monday

Michael is now about 50 miles south of the western tip of Cuba and is expected to make landfall along the Florida panhandle this week.

Tropical Storm Michael is strengthening on its way north, becoming a hurricane, possibly a major one, before a forecast hit to northwest Florida.

Ken Graham says the storm's large size, strong winds and heavy rains could produce a lot of flooding, and the shape of this stretch of coastline makes it particularly vulnerable to storm surge.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for western Cuba. He warned that storm surge could affect areas of Florida not in the storm's direct path.

7 declared a state of emergency for several areas in Florida 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". "EVERY FAMILY must be prepared".

As of 11 a.m.

Forecasters expect the tropical storm to become a hurricane on Monday.

Hurricane force winds extend up to 30 miles from Michael's center, while tropical storm force winds extend up to 175 miles.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for the Cuban provinces of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth as well as the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche.

A hurricane watch is in effect for the Alabama-Florida border to Suwannee River in Florida.

Tropical Storm Watches and Hurricane Watches have been issued for portions of the Gulf Coast from Alabama-Mississippi border to Tampa Bay, Florida. It will bring risky storm surge, damaging winds and heavy rain. High tides are extra high this week because of the New Moon on Tuesday.

The sixth named storm and first major hurricane, Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane the morning of September 14 at Wrightsville Beach, NC.

Hurricane Michael's path to Florida and Alabama as of 11 a.m. on October 8. "The winds from the storm will thus be able to pile up a large storm surge along the east side of the storm's center". The forecast projects Tallahassee, where Gillum is mayor, will be directly hit.

Not only is the coastline in danger, so are inland areas of Florida, Alabama and Georgia, forecasters warn.

Michael is the 13th named storm of the 2018 hurricane season.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Leslie is hanging around in the middle of the Atlantic.

Leslie's past track going back to September 23 with the five-day forecast track and cone of uncertainty. Michael could reach or be close to a Category 3 by Tuesday night or Wednesday.

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