Tropical Storm Michael is already a fairly good-sized storm.
How rapid this intensification may be will be telling for the eventual strength achieved by hurricane Michael over the coming days, with many meteorologists suggesting that once the storm passes Cuba there is little but relatively favourable conditions between hurricane Michael and a strong category landfall.
"In fact, almost every piece of intensity guidance brings the cyclone to hurricane strength before it reaches land, including the GFS, ECMWF, and UKMET global models, which all show significant deepening of the central pressure", National Hurricance Center forecaster Robbie Berg wrote in a morning discussion of the storm.
Michael is the 13th named storm of the 2018 hurricane season, according to hurricane center spokesman Dennis Feltgen.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center on Sunday upgraded Michael from a tropical depression to a named tropical storm, saying Michael had winds of up to 50 miles per hour (85 kph).
The latest track now has Michael reaching major hurricane status as a category 3 hurricane prior to making landfall along the Florida gulf coast.
As of 11 p.m. Monday, Michael was centered about 455 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida, and 485 miles south of Panama City, Florida.
"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky", Scott said in a news briefing.
Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency this morning and urged Panhandle and Big Bend residents to prepare for Tropical Depression 14. Where the strongest winds set up will again depend on the exact track of the storm.
The Hurricane Center predicts that Michael will reach hurricane intensity with 80 miles per hour (or Category 1) winds by Tuesday, increasing to 100 miles per hour by Wednesday (or Category 2) around the time of landfall.
As of 5:00 pm EDT, Tropical Storm Michael is about 190 miles south southwest of Cuba with sustained winds of 50 mph.
For storm information specific to your area, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service.
Southern Georgia, along with parts of southeastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle could see rainfall amounts of 4-to-8 inches with isolated rainfall amounts of up to 12 inches. Swells are expected to begin affecting the coast of the eastern and northern Gulf of Mexico during the next day or so. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from the Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island, and a Tropical Storm Watch has also been issed from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.
Scott had already announced Sunday morning he would declare a state of emergency due to the storm.
Chris Holcomb and the 11Alive Storm Trackers team will have full coverage all week of Tropical Hurricane Michael and bring you full details on what sort of effects it will have on our weather in and across the state of Georgia.