NHC: Michael projected to be Category 3 at landfall

A Tropical Depression Expected to Form in the Northwestern Caribbean Sea Tonight or Sunday, Heavy Rains Heading For Western Cuba

Storm Michael could soon form, hit U.S. midweek

Tropics: Tropical Storm Michael was named on Sunday and is set to travel into the Gulf over the next couple of days. The storm is now a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale which measures hurricane intensity, with 1 being the weakest and 5 the strongest.

Aside from winds potentially nearing 200 km/h, the storm's main impacts are expected to include extreme rainfall (up to and exceeding 250 mm in the worst-hit areas of the panhandle), flooding, the the potential for "life-threatening" mudslides in mountainous areas along its route. "Every family must be prepared". He also activated 500 Florida Guard troops ahead of the storm and has a further 5,000 on standby.

"Everybody's got to get ready".

As of 8 a.m. EDT Monday, the storm was centred about 120 miles (190 kilometres) east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and moving to the north at about 7 mph (11 kph). The bottom line is that tropical storm force winds are likely, meaning winds ranging from 40 miles per hour to as high as 70+.

Michael has undergone a period of "rapid intensification" - defined as an increase of sustained winds of 35 mph in a 24-hour period.

The National Hurricane Center announced a tropical depression had strengthened.

The latest track now has Michael reaching major hurricane status as a category 3 hurricane prior to making landfall along the Florida gulf coast.

Tropical Storm Michael will soon become Hurricane Michael as it moves north toward Florida, the National Hurricane Center said Monday morning. This rainfall may lead to life-threatening flash floods.

There is also a tropical storm warning for the Cuban provinces of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth. A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from Navarre to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay.

A hurricane watch is in effect along the Alabama-Florida border down to the Suwanee River.

NWS Charleston's latest advisory on Michael anticipates impacts along the SC coast as early as Sunday night, and minor to moderate impacts along the SC and Georgia coasts Monday until Thursday.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum was scheduled to campaign in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, but said he is suspending his campaign activity to address preparations for the storm, his campaign said.

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