Michael now a Category 1 hurricane

Mindy Sparks
October 9, 2018

Michael is expected to become a hurricane later this morning and is forecast to continue strengthening up until landfall.

As Hurricane Michael plows up the Gulf of Mexico to smack the Florida Panhandle, forecasters expect South Florida to get sideswiped by some extra wind and rain atop the usual for this time of year.

Michael became a hurricane over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico this morning and is expected to strengthen before striking the Florida Panhandle, perhaps as a unsafe Category 2 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A man pulls a boat as Tropical Storm Michael approaches in Cancun, Mexico, October 7, 2018.

The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency is actively monitoring what has recently developed into Hurricane Michael.

The chances of tropical storm winds are low but it is possible that strong gusts Tuesday night into Wednesday might reach tropical storm force.

Florida has already declared an emergency in 26 counties.

At 8 a.m. Monday, Tropical Storm Michael was located about 120 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico, or about 630 miles south of Panama City, in the Yucatan Channel.

The hurricane's sustained winds are expected to hit at least 111 miles per hour by Tuesday, making it a major hurricane - the designation for Category 3 storms and above, on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale.

CNN reports that such language is warranted, for Michael is now "slashing Cuba" and is expected to reach Category 3 status (with sustained winds from 111-129 mph) by Wednesday when it reaches the US mainland.

Hurricane Michael could bring heavy rain and high winds to parts of Maryland later this week, but extreme flooding did not pose an enormous risk to most of the state as of Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm's projected path shows Michael staying west of peninsular Florida, making a landfall somewhere along the Panhandle on Wednesday.

After hitting Florida, the storm is forecast to move northeast along the Atlantic Coast and batter the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month.

"So dependent on where that eye is, is going to make a determination on what we're going to see in wind, rain and surge as it goes up", Litschauer said. A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from Navarre to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay. Tropical Storm and Hurricane Watches have been posted for the Florida Panhandle and the Big Bend.

Maximum sustained winds are near 70 miles per hour and Michael is moving north at 7 miles per hour.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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