Tropical Storm Michael Could Turn Into 'Devastating' Hurricane Before It Hits Florida

Tropical Storm Michael, Heading North, Could Become Category 2 Hurricane

Tracking Michael

Forecasters have warned residents along the northeastern and central US Golf Coast to monitor the storm's progress.

Hurricane Michael will also create conditions for a tornado to potentially form.

Forecasters say the storm will gain more intensity through Tuesday, with a chance it will weaken somewhat as it nears land in Florida. A major hurricane is defined as Category 3 or greater on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds of 111mph or greater.

Tropical Storm Michael is in the Gulf of Mexico and expected to bring heavy winds, inches of rain and a chance of flash floods to parts of the Carolinas later this week, including the Charlotte area, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was about 30 miles northwest of Cuba.

"Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area along the U.S. Gulf coast by Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Tuesday night or early Wednesday".

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The following is the latest information on Tropical Storm Michael.

In addition to parts of western and northern Florida, a hurricane watch is also in effect for Mobile, Alabama and surrounding areas. It's center is located near the western tip of Cuba and is moving north at 7 miles per hour.

In Belize, the National Meteorological Service (NMS), posted on their website that Tropical Storm Michael was moving northward away from Belize and the 24-hour forecast calls for cloudy with sunny breaks this morning, becoming mostly cloudy this afternoon and tonight. "Not Mobile because it might even go that way", said Tallahassee resident Searcey Bush. "The models are in pretty good agreement".

"Our state understands how serious tropical weather is and how devastating any hurricane of tropical storm can be", Scott said in a statement.

Florida State University and Leon County schools canceled classes from Tuesday through Friday.

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The NHC said that a storm surge of 8 to 12 feet could hit Indian Pass, Florida, to Crystal River, Florida.

"If this storm hit Panama City, Tampa could still have storm surge", said Scott, referring to two Florida cities about 600 kilometres apart by highway.

Michael was upgraded to a hurricane Monday and is expected to strengthen to a Category 3 hurricane before reaching the Panhandle and Big Bend area on Wednesday. It caused 42 deaths, according to Weather Underground, and caused more than $2.5 billion in damage.

Lines at gas stations remained long throughout the day as many residents seemed to agree that getting out of town might be the best move. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.

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