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Tropical Storm Michael forms in Caribbean, eyes Gulf Coast

11 October 2018

Depending on the track, it's possible that the storm's remnants also could bring heavy rainfall to Virginia, Maryland and Washington - another region vulnerable to flooding because of unusually wet conditions in September - by Thursday and Friday.

Officials believe the storm could strengthen into a Category 2 hurricane by the time it makes landfall midweek.

Keep in mind that in a hurricane, the impacts can stretch hundreds of miles outside the center - including wind, tropical downpours that lead to flooding, storm surge, and tornadoes.

The National Hurricane Center shows up to 10 inches of rain is expected from Hurricane Michael this week. It remains a category 1 hurricane and continues to strengthen.

In a news conference Sunday evening in Tallahassee, Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned that the storm could have far-reaching effects, regardless of where it lands.

A Tropical Storm Watch was issued from Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, which also includes Tampa Bay.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the tropical storm was crawling north toward the Yucatan Channel off of Mexico late Sunday night and was expected to unload heavy rains on western Cuba in the coming hours.

Before Michael hits the United States, it's expected to dump 3 to 7 inches of rain on western Cuba.

A storm is designated a Category 1 hurricane if it reaches speeds of 74 miles per hour (119 kph) or more, and a Category 3 hurricane at 111 miles per hour (178 kph) or more on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.

When the storm moves ashore, it will probably be a Category 1 storm, with winds between 74-95 miles per hour, said Frank Strait, senior meteorologist for the private forecasting firm AccuWeather.

The NHC says that Michael is expected to cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline because of a unsafe storm surge and tide.

The storm center was located about 90 miles south of Cozumel, Mexico, or 225 miles southwest of the western tip of Cuba. On Sunday, CEMA urged residents to maintain awareness of the storm.

Right now, the National Hurricane Center predicts a landfall along the Florida panhandle on Wednesday.

Forecasters expect Michael to be near or at major hurricane strength when it moves into the northeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday night and Wednesday. It's not uncommon for it to flood in St. Augustine during hurricanes and bad storms. A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from Navarre to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay.

Tropical Storm Michael forms in Caribbean, eyes Gulf Coast