Tropical storm expected to produce squally, wet weather across S. Florida


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. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. It is also expected to bring wet weather to South Florida during the week.

As far as wind goes, we can plan on 15-25 miles per hour sustained winds, with gusts over 40 miles per hour at times. Tropical storm winds extended out 170 miles, primarily to the northeast and southeast of the storm's center.

Wind: tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area by Sunday night, making outside preparations hard or risky. Even though Hurricane Season ends November 30, it becomes rare for a system to push into the Central and West Gulf Coast after the first intact cold front of the fall. In the meantime, Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a State of Emergency for the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend areas.

"This storm has the potential to bring devastating impacts to communities across the Panhandle and Big Bend and every family must be prepared". "Don't take a chance", he said.

Since the storm will spend two to three days over the Gulf of Mexico, which has warm water 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. The forecast cone at this point has shifted to cover the entire Florida Panhandle and not much else.

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Florida State University campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City plan to close Tuesday through Friday. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed an emergency declaration for her entire state, expecting widespread power outages and other problems from Michael.

Cuban officials issued the warning for the provinces of Pinar del Rio and Isle of Youth. "There will be a significant threat along the coast of hurricane force winds, storm surge that could be exceed 6 to 12 feet in some locations, rains totaling 4" - 8" with local amounts up to 12", and isolated tornadoes.

The weather system, named Tropical Depression 14, was classified a cyclone as it churned through the northwestern Caribbean sea with 35 miles per hour winds on Sunday morning.

"Michael is expected to produce heavy rainfall and flash flooding over portions of western Cuba and the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico during the next couple of days", it said.

Due to the King Tides - exceptionally high tides - along both coasts, coastal flooding also could be a concern.