Hurricane Michael expected to hit Florida panhandle as major hurricane

"Michael is expected to affect portions of the Florida Gulf Coast that are especially vulnerable to storm surge, regardless of the storm's exact track or intensity", the Hurricane Center warned.

In the Washington DC region we are expecting a plume of deep tropical moisture associated with Michael to enhance our threat of rain, showers & t-storms Thursday ahead of a cold front.

"You cannot hide from storm surge, so get prepared and get out if evacuations are ordered".

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

An intensifying storm system that became Tropical Storm Michael Sunday afternoon is setting its sights on the northern Gulf Coast, and forecasters say it could be a Category 2 hurricane when it makes landfall. Parts of Florida's curvy Big Bend could see up to 12 feet of storm surge, while Michael also could dump up to a foot of rain over some Panhandle communities as it moves inland, forecasters said.

Despite approaching Florida from the Gulf Coast side, Tropical Storm Michael is expected to have some impact on Northeast Florida. Tuesday and Wednesday will bring more of a southerly push to the winds, staying in the same 10-20mph range through much of the day.

Governor Scott will be traveling to Tallahassee today to receive a briefing from federal, state and local emergency management officials at the State Emergency Operation Center at 5:00 p.m.

It is moving slowly moving north at 6 miles per hour and is starting to pick up speed.

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Godsey said winds in the tropical storm range could result in downed trees and power outages.

Storm and storm surge watches were issued for the Gulf Coast from the Mississippi-Alabama border to Chassahowitzka, Florida, north of Tampa Bay.

The National Hurricane Center's forecast data has been updated to reflect a landfall maximum intensity of 105 knots, so around 120 miles per hour, hence the forecasters that said conditions are conducive for intensification appear to be being proved right, as the warm sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and favourable wind shear conditions enable hurricane Michael to reach Category 2, 3 or even higher before landfall.

Michael is not expected to produce an excess of rain in Polk, though isolated spots could see more than an inch of precipitation, Fleming said.

Florida's capital city of Tallahassee, which is in the Panhandle, opened two locations Sunday where residents could get sandbags to prepare for flooding.

Michael is the 13th named storm of the 2018 hurricane season, according to hurricane center spokesman Dennis Feltgen.

The governor declared a state of emergency for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy and Citrus counties.

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