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Storm Near Gulf of Mexico Aims for Florida’s Panhandle

08 October 2018

The United States National Hurricane Center revealed tropical depression No. 14 has upgraded to Tropical Storm Michael as it approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast. Strengthening is forecasted during the next several days and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm later on Sunday.

The Weather Channel has noted that forecast guidance is unanimous that Michael will trek north through the Gulf of Mexico and likely pose a threat to parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast by midweek.

Tropical Depression 14 is now said to be located about 90 miles south of Cozumel, Mexico and 225 miles southwest of the western tip of Cuba.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for the provinces of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth in Cuba, and the Mexican coast from Tulum to Cabo Catoche.

The current maximum winds of Tropical Storm Michael are estimated at 40 miles per hour, and an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is on its way to investigate the storm.

The NHC said an increase in forward speed is expected over the next few days.

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Before Michael arrives, moist air pushed north by the storm will start boosting South Georgia's afternoon storm chances through Tuesday, Strait said.

Though forecasters expect the hurricane to hit the Panhandle, the storm may "affect portions of the Florida Gulf Coast that are especially vulnerable to storm surge, regardless of the storms exact track or intensity". The declaration would free up resources for storm preparation.

"Elsewhere, outer rain bands from Michael are expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches across the Florida Keys through Monday", according to the NHC. Forecast show it remaining a tropical storm as it tracks across the region.

The forecast path for Tropical Depression 14 as of Sunday morning, October 7.

The storm has winds of 40 miles per hour with higher gusts.

Scott encouraged residents in the path of the storm to prepare now, and directed everyone to visit FloridaDisaster.org to find information on emergency preparedness, shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.

Storm Near Gulf of Mexico Aims for Florida’s Panhandle