Tracking Michael | Spaghetti models, forecast cone and satellite

Frederick Owens
October 8, 2018

A tropical storm that rapidly formed off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula has gained new strength and could become a unsafe Category 2 hurricane with an expected midweek strike on the Gulf Coast in the Florida Panhandle, forecasts say.

Michael overcame several weather barriers Monday morning to become a hurricane and is tracking north toward Florida's Gulf Coast.

As of 8 a.m. ET Monday, Tropical Storm Michael was centered about 70 miles east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and 70 miles south of the western tip of Cuba, the hurricane center said. For storm information specific to your area outside the United States, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service.DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK -- At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Michael was located near latitude 21.2 North, longitude 84.9 West. Michael is moving toward the north near 7 miles per hour (11 km/h).

Forecasters say it could become a risky Category 2 hurricane by the time of an expected midweek landfall on the Gulf Coast in the Florida Panhandle.

Tropical Storm Michael, the 13th named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, formed near Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday. As Micheal moves north the storm will continue to strengthen, and it could become a major Category 3 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico by midweek.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for western Cuba. Tropical storm watches extend farther south through the Tampa Bay area to Anna Maria Island and, to the west, along the Alabama coast.

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A Hurricane Watch has been issued from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to the Suwanee River.

The NHC has issued a tropical storm watch from the Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay. The Florida Panhandle and Big Bend areas are expected to receive as much as 12 inches of rain and may see flash flooding. The National Hurricane Center is giving it a 50 percent chance of reaching tropical depression status this week, but no models suggest that this will become a threat to land.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe", Scott warned at a press briefing, according to local station News Channel 5.

"This storm has the potential to bring devastating impacts to communities across the Panhandle and Big Bend and every family must be prepared".

At its current rate of speed, tropical storm force winds should reach the northern Gulf Coast as early as Tuesday evening, after which conditions will steadily deteriorate.

In light of the storm, Florida Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum suspended his campaign activity to address preparations for the storm, according to CNN.

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