Gov. Scott issues state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Michael

Cheryl Sanders
October 10, 2018

Now located about 50 miles south of the western tip of Cuba and 140 miles east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, Hurricane Michael is moving north near 7 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center's (NHC) latest advisory.

Tropics: Tropical Storm Michael was named on Sunday and is set to travel into the Gulf over the next couple of days.

The forecast Monday calls for mostly dry, summer like weather although the day began with low clouds and fog reported in parts of the Triangle.

10 A.M.: According to the National Hurricane Center's Advisory No. 4, Tropical Depression 14 continues to become better organized and is near tropical storm strength.

Now is the time to prepare in the case of heavy rain and severe storms.

The Hurricane Center predicts unsafe surf conditions will start to appear along the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday. Some further strengthening is expected overnight and on Wednesday, and Michael is forecast to become a category 4 hurricane before it makes landfall in the Florida Panhandle or the Florida Big Bend area.

The storm could strengthen into a hurricane by Monday night or Tuesday as its center moves over the Yucatan Channel, crosses the Gulf of Mexico and nears the Florida Panhandle coast sometime Wednesday. By 5 p.m., winds had reached maximum sustained speeds about 50 miles per hour.

Image: Forecast Track for Hurricane Michael.

Just off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday, Michael had sustained winds of 60 mph and was about 105 miles east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, moving north at 5 mph.

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

Michael's maximum sustained winds increased to 90 miles per hour on Monday night, the National Hurricane Center reported in its 11 p.m. EST update. The storm is moving to the due north at 7 miles per hour.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe", Scott said in a briefing Sunday. "Areas hit hard by Florence may face disruptions to ongoing cleanup efforts or renewed flooding depending on the track of the storm", AccuWeather senior meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

The NHC has now issued a hurricane warning for Cuba and a hurricane watch for the Florida Panhandle coast. Isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible in western Cuba.

The Florida panhandle will be hardest hit, with parts of the Tallahassee and Panama City areas getting 12 inches of rainfall along with damaging winds.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey declared a statewide emergency on Monday ahead of the storm.

In Polk County, the hurricane could produce tropical-storm-force winds, along with a smattering of rain.

Other reports by iNewsToday