Florida Declares Emergency in 26 Counties as Tropical Storm Michael Approaches

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Florida Declares Emergency in 26 Counties as Tropical Storm Michael Approaches

Michael is now a major hurricane with max sustained winds of 120 miles per hour and gusts to 150 miles per hour. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads.

Scott activated 500 National Guard Troops to help with planning ahead of the storm. Hurricane Hunters are collecting data on the storm, and that data will be fed into our forecast models. It has the potential to undergo rapid intensification when it enters the Gulf before turning northeast towards Florida.

"We've seen this happen many times with storms, and they've just start to bring all that water with them", explained FOX 13's meteorologist Dave Osterberg, "and they've pushed that water in".

Tropical Storm Michael is moving north on Monday as it targets Florida later this week. "We know that a storm like Michael can be devastating and deadly".

A hurricane watch has been posted for the Florida Gulf Coast, all the way from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida.

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Michael has gotten a little stronger and is next expected to dump heavy rains over western Cuba in the coming hours before it makes its way toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.

As forecast, Michael would be the first Category 3 or higher hurricane to hit the Panhandle since Hurricane Dennis in 2005.

The threat for tornadoes will increase late Tuesday into Wednesday over parts of the Florida panhandle, the northern Florida Peninsula, and southern Georgia. On average, the Atlantic would have about five hurricanes by October 8.

The Tampa Bay area is under a Tropical Storm Warning as Michael appears poised to strengthen into a Category 2 hurricane before making landfall on the Florida Panhandle by midweek.

Aside from winds potentially nearing 200 km/h, the storm's main impacts are expected to include extreme rainfall (up to and exceeding 250 mm in the worst-hit areas of the panhandle), flooding, the the potential for "life-threatening" mudslides in mountainous areas along its route.

"As we continue to monitor this storm's path toward Florida, it is critically important that our communities have every available resource to keep everyone safe". "Don't take a chance".

Systems gets upgraded to named storms when wind strength exceeds 39 miles per hour. The governor's declaration activates the state's emergency operations plan, according to Ivey's office.

As of 5 a.m. ET, Tropical Storm Michael is about 90 miles east of Cozumel, an island off Mexico's east coast, and 100 miles west of Cuba.

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. The system was located just east of the Yucatan Peninsula and moving northward at 7 miles per hour.

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