Tropical Storm Michael Will Become a Hurricane Monday

Courtesy MGN

Michael, moving toward the US Gulf Coast, is now a Category 1 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said.

A hurricane watch has been posted for the Florida Gulf Coast, all the way from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida.

As the storm approached, Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared an emergency in 26 counties Sunday night including Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

Ken Graham says the storm's large size, strong winds and heavy rains could produce a lot of flooding, and the shape of this stretch of coastline makes it particularly vulnerable to storm surge. It has the potential to undergo rapid intensification when it enters the Gulf before turning northeast towards Florida. The rains in Cuba's west were expected to begin Sunday night and continue Monday.

The storm now has maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

Current advisory shows winds are sustained at 75 miles per hour.

Rainfall could lead to flash flooding in Florida's panhandle and Big Bend regions, as well as in the Carolinas, through Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Forecasters also measure hurricane intensity by central pressure, with lower pressures denoting a tighter circulation, better organization, and more powerful storm.

Because of the storm surge threat, three Florida panhandle counties have issued mandatory evacuation orders ahead of the hurricane.

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"Alabama is once again in the path of a hurricane, but I know Alabamians will once again come together and be prepared for whatever Michael may bring", Ivey stated.

The Atlantic Basin has seen seven hurricanes this year. Serious hurricane effects will not be restricted to coastal areas and may extend further inland, potentially affecting the Tallahassee area.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe", Scott said at a press briefing.

Also in that report, Dixon said Gillum's handling of the storm situation and his ensuing feud with Scott loomed over his political future.

"Everybody's got to get ready".

"If we get some additional rainfall on Wednesday, then when the heavier stuff gets here with the hurricane on Thursday and Friday, that would cause some flooding", Panovich warned.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines issued its own travel waiver Monday afternoon for travelers passing through Mobile, Alabama; Fort Walton Beach, Florida; Panama City, Florida; Pensacola, Florida and Tallahassee, Florida Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tallahassee City Commissioner Gil Ziffer warned that if the storm hits Florida's capital, there would be significant tree damage and power outages.

Finally, a potent African wave is located near the Cabo Verde islands and has a shot at becoming at least a tropical depression this week, if not a tropical storm, before conditions become more hostile by the weekend. (The 11am ET forecast on Monday from the National Hurricane Center calls for 120mph winds for Michael at landfall).

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