Storm Michael Expected to Hit Florida as a Hurricane Midweek

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The storm is expected to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle, but as it travels through the Gulf of Mexico in the next few days, it can create storm surge for Tampa Bay.

A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or dangerous.A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.Interests elsewhere across the southeastern United States should monitor the progress of Michael.For storm information specific to your area in the United States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

The storm rapidly intensified overnight despite shear and should become a Category 3 hurricane before landfall Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center forecast.

The NHC says that the storm could produce a foot of rain in western Cuba, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas.

"If this storm hit Panama City, Tampa could still have storm surge", said Scott, referring to two Florida cities about 600 kilometres apart by highway.

A hurricane watch is in effect for the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida. The Hurricane Center also issued a Storm Surge Watch from Navarre, in the Florida Panhandle, to Anna Maria Island.

This is a map showing the forecast cone for Hurricane Michael, which strengthened from a tropical storm. It will bring unsafe storm surge, damaging winds and heavy rain.

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Astronomical King Tide cycles will cause extra high storm surge on portions of the Florida Gulf Coast with the highest 7-11 foot surge near Apalachicola to Crystal River, 4-6 feet near Crystal River to Anclote River, and 2-4 feet around Tampa Bay.

A storm is designated a Category 1 hurricane if it reaches speeds of 74 miles per hour (119 kph) or more, and a Category 3 hurricane at 111 miles per hour (178 kph) or more on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.

"A northward motion at a slightly faster forward speed is expected through Tuesday night, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday", the NHC said in its Monday morning advisory.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles to the northeast and southeast of the center.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum canceled campaign events in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday to prepare for the storm, his campaign said.

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

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