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

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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.

The storm was centered about 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the western tip of Cuba, and about 140 miles (220 kilometers) east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico. The storm's tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles from its center. Steady to rapid strengthening is expected for the next day or so.

The Gulf Coast is forecast to see tropical storm conditions Tuesday night or early Wednesday, ahead of the hurricane activity expected for Wednesday.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky", Scott said after receiving a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center.

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A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Alabama-Florida border to Suwannee River Florida.

Hurricane Michael is now a Category 1 hurricane as of the 2 PM advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

A major hurricane is a Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane, which has winds of at least 111 miles per hour.

"This is a part of the Gulf of Mexico that is incredibly vulnerable to storm surge", Graham said.

A storm surge warning - meaning unsafe flooding could strike in the next 36 hours - is in effect for a long swath of Florida's coast, from the Okaloosa-Walton county line east of Pensacola to the Anclote River, just north of Tampa Bay.

"Take this seriously and keep your family safe", Scott said from Bay County on Monday. Locally ordered evacuations of thousands of homes have begun, with 1,250 National Guard soldiers aiding the process and over 4,000 troops on standby, Scott tweeted.

There's less of a risk areas north and west of the Interstate-95 corridor will see heavy rain, Martin said, meaning there's also a lower chance of inland flooding. This means life-threatening storm surge inundation is possible in the watch area within 48 hours. "This is coming very fast". RAINFALL: Michael is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 7 inches over western Cuba and 2 to 4 inches over the Yucatan Peninsula and Belize through Tuesday.

But there is some good news, unlike Florence, Michael is forecast to move quickly and dump less rain.

The latest track shows a weakening Michael moving either directly through, or at least near central Georgia as a tropical storm.

The governor says she will continue to monitor Hurricane Michael, along with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. A warning indicates tropical storm conditions are expected, in this case, within 24 hours. We'll find out later this week how severe this storm shall be, but for now, it's time to batten down those hatches.

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