Will Hurricane Michael Hit Tampa? Latest Track & Forecast

This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a view of Tropical Storm Michael lower right churning as it heads toward the Florida Panhandle

Michael battered parts of Mexico and Cuba with powerful winds and drenching rains on Sunday and into early Monday as it churned in the Caribbean. The hurricane is moving north at 7 miles per hour with max sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

Michael has intensified into a hurricane and the National Weather Service has issued a hurricane watch for most of the Florida Panhandle and the Big Bend.

Hurricane Michael is forecast to continue strengthening as it enters the Gulf of Mexico and takes aim at Florida's Panhandle.

A hurricane warning - meaning hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours - is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida, the National Hurricane Center said.

A tropical storm off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula has rapidly strengthened and could become a risky hurricane before an expected midweek strike on the Gulf Coast in the Florida Panhandle, forecasters said Monday. We are working closely and coordinating with our local, state and federal partners in anticipation of the storm's potential impacts. HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND -------- WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area by this evening or tonight, making outside preparations hard or risky.

Rick Scott on Sunday warned that the storm could become a Category 2 hurricane by the time it makes landfall at midweek.

A Storm Surge Watch and Tropical Storm Watch have both been issued for coastal areas including Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Levy, Manatee, Pasco, and Pinellas counties. The storm surge watch stretches from Anna Maria Island to Navarre, while the tropical storm watch stretches to the Suwanee River.

He also has declared a state of emergency for 35 counties and asked President Donald Trump for assistance ahead of the storm.

"Let's all stay safe and watch this storm closely". Tropical storm winds extended out 175 miles (280 kilometers) from the storm's center.

Forecasters say the storm will gain more intensity through Tuesday, with a chance it will weaken somewhat as it nears land in Florida.

Scott activated 500 National Guard troops in advance of the storm. Storm surge is not much of a concern because forecasters expect the hurricane to move quickly across the state, Martin said. Meanwhile, Hurricane Michael is forecast to hit Florida's northwestern coast by October 10.

The hurricane center warned that the storm could produce up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain in western Cuba, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas. It's forecast to move toward the Baja this week and eventually make landfall as a tropical storm by week's end.

According to ABC News, the storm is around 120 miles east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and its maximum sustained wind speeds have reached up to 70 mph. On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move near the northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula Monday morning, and then across the eastern Gulf of Mexico late Monday through Wednesday morning.

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