Storm Michael could soon form, hit USA midweek

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With the high wind shear that had been making it hard for the storm to organize retreating from the Gulf of Mexico it is likely the system will become Michael as it makes its way north. Now-Tropical Storm Michael now sits off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days. He says winds in those areas could reach more than 100 miles per hour (160 kph).

Since the storm will spend two to three days over the Gulf, which has very warm water temperatures and favorable atmospheric conditions, "there is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall", Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the Miami-based storm forecasting hub, wrote in an advisory. As of Monday morning, Michael was moving north at 7mph with maximum winds near hurricane strength. If the forecast is correct, Michael would be the 11th major hurricane to hit Florida in October since records began in 1851, Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach said.

The NHC says that Michael is expected to cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline because of a unsafe storm surge and tide.

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Updates 2:30 p.m. Sunday version with emergency declared, new details: Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday declared a state of emergency in Northwest Florida as a looming hurricane threatens to hammer the region in the middle of the week. The storm is moving to the due north at 7 miles per hour.

When the storm moves ashore, it will probably be a Category 1 storm, with winds between 74-95 miles per hour, said Frank Strait, senior meteorologist for the private forecasting firm AccuWeather.

Florida's governor mobilized National Guard troops and ordered Gulf Coast residents to head inland or get ready to evacuate as Hurricane Michael churned toward shore on Monday, with the storm forecast to strengthen rapidly before making landfall on Wednesday.

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As of 5:00 pm EDT, Tropical Storm Michael is about 190 miles south southwest of Cuba with sustained winds of 50 mph. "Storm surge can occur before, during, or after the center of a storm passes through an area".

The Florida panhandle will be hardest hit, with parts of the Tallahassee and Panama City areas getting 12 inches of rainfall along with damaging winds.

A Tropical Storm Watch was issued from Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, which also includes Tampa Bay. "Higher amounts of 2" to locally 3" will be possible across southern Maryland, closer to the center of Michael's path. Scott said state officials are already working on planning, logistics and first response with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defense.

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