Update from Reuters:
- MICHAEL BECOMES A HURRICANE AND CONTINUED STRENGTHENING EXPECTED, HEAVY RAINFALL AND STRONG WINDS SPREADING ACROSS WESTERN CUBA, RISK OF LIFE-THREATENING STORM SURGE, HEAVY RAINFALL, AND DANGEROUS WINDS INCREASING FOR THE NORTHEASTERN GULF COAST: NHC
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A new tropical storm has developed off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and could become a dangerous Category 2 hurricane with an expected Wednesday landfall on the Gulf Coast in the Florida Panhandle region.
Hurricane watches have been issued for northwest and north central Florida ahead of Tropical Storm Michael. Forecasters say Michael could strengthen into a major hurricane as it approaches Florida’s coastline by midweek with dangerous storm surge flooding, hurricane winds, and heavy rainfall. Per the latest Weather Channel update, Michael is located 90 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico, and is moving northward at 7mph.
Hurricane watches have been issued for the Northwest Gulf Coast from Alabama/Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida. The Weather Channel said this includes Pensacola, Panama City, and Tallahassee.
Tropical storm watches have also been issued from Suwanee River, Florida, to Anna Maria Island, Florida, including Tampa Bay and from the Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border.
“Michael will continue to move northward into the central Gulf of Mexico early this week, strengthening as it does so. As it approaches the eastern Gulf Coast, it will encounter a favorable environment for strengthening, and may become a Category 1-2 hurricane prior to landfall in the Florida Panhandle. There is an outside this system strengthens even more than forecast, but confidence on this scenario is low. Regardless, Michael should remain east of significant oil refineries as it approaches landfall early Wednesday, but unsettled weather as far as Louisiana is possible. Winds sustained between 80-100mph are possible along with significant rainfall and flooding along its track through this week,” said Ed Vallee, head meteorologist at Vallee Weather Consulting LLC.
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