Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Tropical Storm Michael almost a hurricane, expected to hit Florida

Tropical Storm Michael almost a hurricane, expected to hit Florida

Satellite imagery from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows Michael moving toward Florida and the southeastern United States.

Tropical Storm Michael is strengthening on its way north, becoming a hurricane, possibly a major one, before a forecast hit to northwest Florida. "Families should take the opportunity TODAY to make sure they have three days of food and water, as well as all needed medications", he tweeted.

The hurricane center warned that the storm could produce a foot (30 centimeters) of rain in western Cuba, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas.

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

"Michael expected to become a hurricane very soon", the National Hurricane Center announced in its 8 a.m. bulletin in Monday.

As of 11 a.m., the storm was located about 50 miles south of the western tip of Cuba and moving north at 7 mph, toward the Gulf Coast, according to the National Hurricane Center. "We're going to get storm surge, we have wind, we have a chance of flooding, we have a significant chance of tornadoes". The water has the potential to reach the following heights above ground if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.Indian Pass to Crystal River.8-12 ft Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass.5-8 ft Crystal River to Anclote River.4-6 ft Anclote River to Anna Maria Island including Tampa Bay.2-4 ft Navarre to Okaloosa/Walton County Line.2-4 ftWIND: Hurricane conditions will spread across the far western part of the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio this afternoon and evening.

Tampa Bay has about a 40 percent chance of tropical storm-force winds within the next five days.

The storm quickly strengthened into a powerful tropical storm earlier Monday morning, and by 11 a.m. its maximum sustained winds had reached the 75 miles per hour hurricane threshold.

The Florida Keys are expected to receive as much as 4 inches of rain through Tuesday.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida Monday and Tuesday, but he said he would return to Tallahassee to help with storm preparations.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Leslie is hanging around in the middle of the Atlantic. Swells are expected to begin affecting the coast of the eastern and northern Gulf of Mexico during the next day or so.

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