Hurricane Michael prompts Alabama to declare state of emergency

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

Winds in the 40 to 50 miles per hour range will reach the SC border as early as 8 p.m. Wednesday, says the center.

DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK -------- At 100 PM CDT (1800 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Michael was located near latitude 19.2 North, longitude 86.9 West. Michael is now stationary but is expected to resume a slow northward motion later today.

The forecast indicates Michael may be a Category 3 hurricane - with winds from 111 to 129 miles per hour - when it strikes.

Hurricane Michael is expected to strengthen rapidly over the next 24 to 36 hours and will be "a unsafe major hurricane when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast on Wednesday", the National Hurricane Center says.

This storm is very different than Florence because it will NOT stall. Hurricane and Storm Surge Watches have been issued for parts of the Florida Gulf Coast, please monitor the National Hurricane Center and your local National Weather Service office for details as it relates to the protection of life and property.

Hurricane Sergio is still continuing to churn out in the eastern Pacific Ocean, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC), but the storm is forecast to take a turn toward the northeast and may bring heavy rain to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas after hitting northwestern Mexico. Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for coastal areas westward to the Alabama-Mississippi border and for inland areas of Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

The storm was located by 2 a.m. ET Monday about 105 miles (170 kilometers) east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and moving to the north at about 4 mph (6 kph). "The storm is expected to increase rain chances across the Tampa Bay area this week", ABC Action News reports.

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It would impact 35 Florida counties - Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Columbia, Hamilton, Suwanee, Lafayette, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, Citrus, Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Alachua, Union, Bradford and Baker Counties.

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

In the past, Columbia County has experienced flooding from tropical storms and hurricanes in the Gulf.

Scott activated 500 National Guard troops in advance of the storm.

Michael is forecasted to become a major hurricane by Tuesday or Tuesday night. Forecasters warned that the storm could produce up to 30 centimetres of rain in western Cuba, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas. "We all saw the damage Hermine did to the neighborhoods in its path just two years ago and Tropical Storm Michael is forecast to have similar impacts", Governor Scott said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, broad swaths of the Carolinas could find themselves exposed to tropical storm-force winds as early as Wednesday evening.

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