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First Alert Weather: Michael forecast to become a major hurricane, impact Suncoast

First Alert Weather: Michael forecast to become a major hurricane, impact Suncoast

At 11 a.m. Michael was about 50 miles south of the western tip of Cuba with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.

This system will need to be monitored closely for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

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

The current track (as of 5 p.m.) by the National Hurricane Center in Miami places the center of the storm passing directly through Panama City Beach, where a hurricane warning already has been issued.

It is rare but certainly not unheard of for major hurricanes to strike the United States in October-after all, the season does not end until November 30.

Hurricane Michael - which was upgraded from tropical storm Monday - is in the Gulf of Mexico and expected to hit the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday.

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In what appeared to be an off-script moment, Scott described the dynamics of storm surge: It moves in fast and leaves just as quickly, taking with it anything that isn't anchored. 'This storm will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe, ' Scott said after receiving a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center.

Michael was expected to make landfall Wednesday in parts of the Panhandle where county jail inmates were enlisted last week to help clean up fish killed by the red tide. The bottom line is that tropical storm force winds are likely, meaning winds ranging from 40 miles per hour to as high as 70+. The storm surge watch stretches from Anna Maria Island to Navarre, while the tropical storm watch stretches to the Suwanee River.

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

Almost a month after Hurricane Florence created unprecedented flooding, the Grand Strand is in another storm's path. Strengthening is forecast during the next several days, and Michael could become a hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday. These chances could go up as we get greater confidence in the forecast.

The governor also activated 1,250 National Guardsmen and said he would waive tolls for residents who were evacuating. By the time it hits the northeastern Gulf Coast this week, Michael could be a major hurricane.

The hurricane center warned that the storm could produce a foot of rain in western Cuba, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas. Additionally, a Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for inland Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Levy, and Pasco counties. Tropical storm winds extended out 170 miles (275 kilometers), primarily to the northeast and southeast of the storm's center.


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