Michael grows to Category 1 hurricane, aims for Florida Gulf Coast

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Michael obviously came out of nowhere and rapidly intensified, and its quick march toward the American mainland has given southeastern states (especially Florida) little time to prepare. Inland areas such as Tallahassee will also see significant effects.

As of 2pm on Monday, Michael was located just SW of the western tip of Cuba, moving N around 6kt with maximum winds of 65kts. The most recent was Hurricane Wilma during the incredibly active season of 2005.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is also the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the November 6 election, said on Sunday he was cancelling his campaign events and returning to Tallahassee, the state capital, to focus on storm preparations. Fong, who lives in Miami, said he has stocked up on essentials and is keeping abreast of news on Michael.

"This storm has the potential to bring devastating impacts to communities across the Panhandle and Big Bend and every family must be prepared".

The U.S. National Hurricane Center on Sunday upgraded Tropical Depression Michael to a named tropical storm, saying Michael earlier had winds of up to 85 kph. The storm surge watch stretches from Anna Maria Island to Navarre, while the tropical storm watch stretches to the Suwanee River.

"Life-threatening storm surge is possible along portions of the Florida Gulf Coast regardless of the storm's exact track or intensity", the center said.

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"So dependent on where that eye is, is going to make a determination on what we're going to see in wind, rain and surge as it goes up", Litschauer said. STATIONARY MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1004 MB...29.65 INCHES WATCHES AND WARNINGS ------- SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT: A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...

Michael was expected to make landfall Wednesday in parts of the Panhandle where county jail inmates were enlisted last week to help clean up fish killed by the red tide. Michael was now a Category 1 hurricane, at the bottom of the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

4 P.M. Hurricane warnings are now up between the Alabama-Florida state line and the Suwannee River as Hurricane Michael continues moving north at a slightly higher forward speed and 80 miles per hour winds. Forecasters say the hurricane will also bring tropical storm conditions to parts of the Yucatan Peninsula, and predict the storm will take a relatively direct northerly route toward the Florida Panhandle.

Current advisory shows winds are sustained at 75 miles per hour.

This storm is very different than Florence because it will NOT stall. The storm's tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles from its center, according to the weather center. Pfaff said this risk is higher if the storm moves west of the area. Areas farther east in Georgia, such as in Albany and Macon, also have a chance for "weak short-lived tornadoes", the service said in a hazardous weather bulletin.

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