Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Tropical Storm Michael, Heading North, Could Become Category 2 Hurricane

Tropical Storm Michael, Heading North, Could Become Category 2 Hurricane

Rick Scott announced Sunday that he will issue an executive order declaring a state of emergency for counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend as the state continues to prepare and monitor the storm. He also activated 500 Florida Guard troops ahead of the storm and has a further 5,000 on standby. Another 5,500 were available if needed.

Wind: tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area by Sunday night, making outside preparations hard or unsafe. "This storm has the potential to bring devastating impacts to communities across the Panhandle and Big Bend and every family must be prepared".

Elsewhere, outer rain bands from the depression are expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches across the Florida Keys through Monday.

This image shows the projected path of Tropical Storm Michael on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018.

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The storm was about 225 miles (365km) southwest of the western tip of Cuba at 2 p.m. eastern time (18:00 GMT), with sustained winds of 40 mph (65 km), the National Weather Service said.

The governor warned that storm surge could affect areas of Florida not in the storm's direct path.

However, over the next 24 hours or so, those winds are expected to subside and become more favorable, and additional strengthening of this system is expected as it passes across the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The forecast Monday calls for mostly dry, summer like weather although the day began with low clouds and fog reported in parts of the Triangle.

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If Tropical Depression Fourteen becomes a storm, it will be named Michael.

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Weather.com meteorologist Christopher Dolce warned the "hurricane conditions are possible in the region by Wednesday" with "damaging winds, unsafe storm surge, and heavy rain".

The hurricane center on Sunday upgraded the tropical depression in the Caribbean to a named tropical storm, saying it had winds of up to 40 miles per hour (65 kph). In addition to the wind, Michael could be a decent rain maker, with several inches of rain possible.

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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.

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