Tropical Storm Michael could strengthen into hurricane, forecasters say


As of Monday morning, Michael was 140 miles east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, packing winds of 75 mph and moving north at 7 mph into the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center's forecast cone, including uncertainty five days out, shows Michael could hit or have a high impact anywhere from Pensacola to Jacksonville, Florida next week.

Currently, the forecast cone does include the Big Bend and south Georgia.

For DC, although the current track keeps the center of Michael southeast of our area, it will still influence our weather.

Before that, seas will build across the gulf early this week as the storm churns northward, creating dangers for swimmers and boaters well ahead of the storm, AccuWeather warned. Make sure you have a way to continue getting updates, and check to make sure your hurricane kit is fully stocked before the storm arrives.

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.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky", Scott said Sunday after receiving a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center.

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Godsey said winds in the tropical storm range could result in downed trees and power outages.

The storm is forecast by the National Hurricane Center to move mostly north, crossing through the Gulf Of Mexico before a landfall along the Florida panhandle on Wednesday afternoon. We also have an area of high pressure just off the east coast of Florida.

Strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and the system is expected to become a tropical depression later tonight or on Sunday and a tropical storm on Sunday night.

-Tropical Depression Fourteen will become Tropical Storm Michael on Sunday, with maximum sustained winds reaching 65 miles per hour by late Monday or early Tuesday.

With a potential hurricane threatening the state, Florida Gov. Rick Scott prepared to declare a state of emergency Sunday for counties in North Florida.

Florida's capital city of Tallahassee, which is in the Panhandle, opened two locations Sunday where residents could get sandbags to prepare for flooding.

Andrew Gillum, the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee who is vying to succeed Scott as the state's governor, has called off campaign events on Monday and Tuesday to focus on storm preparation, CNN reported. The Florida Panhandle and Big Bend into the Carolinas is expected to get four to eight inches as well, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches.