Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Michael expected to gain hurricane strength as it approaches U.S.

Michael expected to gain hurricane strength as it approaches U.S.

In the Washington DC region we are expecting a plume of deep tropical moisture associated with Michael to enhance our threat of rain, showers & t-storms Thursday ahead of a cold front.

Michael has continued to become better organized over the past 24 hours.Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for portions of the Yucatan Peninsula, including Cozumel, as well as parts of western Cuba. "Michael is forecast to be near or at major hurricane strength when it reaches the northeastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night and Wednesday", the hurricane center said.

A tropical storm off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula has rapidly strengthened and could become a unsafe hurricane before an expected midweek strike on the Gulf Coast in the Florida Panhandle, forecasters said Monday.

Most of the impacts from the storm are expected to be east of the Mississippi Coast, the National Weather Service in New Orleans says.

"If this storm hit Panama City, Tampa could still have storm surge", said Scott, referring to two Florida cities about 375 miles (600 kilometers) apart by highway.

We'll be tracking Michael closely as it churns toward the northern Gulf Coast, so stick with ABC7 for updates.

The "risk of risky storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts continues to increase", the National Hurricane Center warned Sunday.

An Air Force hurricane hunter airplane was sent into the storm to investigate, the hurricane center said.

The storm at 8 a.m. was travelling with 35-mph winds.

"As we continue to monitor this storm's path toward Florida, it is critically important that our communities have every available resource to keep everyone safe".

The state of emergency covers 26 counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend areas.

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency in anticipation of damage from Hurricane Michael. Stormy and windy weather will no doubt occur before landfall, with the timing of impacts potentially starting as early as sunrise on Wednesday.

Outer bands from Michael are expected produce as much as 4 inches (10 cm) of rain through Tuesday in the Florida Keys, one of several areas in the state devastated by Hurricane Irma past year. The storm was about 140 miles (230 kilometers) south-southwest of the western tip of Cuba as of Sunday evening.

But it's so big, people about 175 miles away from the center are getting hit with tropical-storm-force winds (which have increased to at least 60 mph).

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