The latest on Tropical Storm Michael

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at the Baltimore Fleet Week and Air Show Oct. 7

The latest track now has Michael reaching major hurricane status as a category 3 hurricane prior to making landfall along the Florida gulf coast. Other places on the Florida Panhandle could see several feet of storm surge. Steady to rapid strengthening is expected for the next day or so.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami say Michael will move over very warm waters and could strengthen into a major hurricane with winds topping 111 miles per hour (178 kph) by Tuesday night. 'This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky, ' Scott said after receiving a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center.

In addition to parts of western and northern Florida, a hurricane watch is also in effect for Mobile, Alabama and surrounding areas.

"Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area along the U.S. Gulf coast by Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Tuesday night or early Wednesday".

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...

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Scott warned that Michael could reach land as a Category 2 hurricane, with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour.

According to Colorado State University hurricane scientist Phil Klotzbach, of the 15 major hurricanes that have struck the United States in October since 1851, 10 of them have hit Florida.

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Locally, Manatee County Public Safety officials were not ready to declare a local state of emergency, but are in a "monitor and wait" pattern, director Bob Smith said during a news conference. "Take this seriously and keep your family safe", Scott urged his constituents while speaking from Bay County. "We know that a storm like Michael can be devastating and deadly".

Around 500 members of the Florida National Guard have been scrambled into duty. "This storm will be life-threatening and really unsafe. This is coming very fast".

Michael battered parts of Mexico and Cuba with powerful winds and drenching rains on Sunday and into early Monday as it churned in the Caribbean. The declaration would free up funding for protective measures as well as provide federal resources and assistance.

"Michael is expected to produce heavy rainfall and flash flooding over portions of western Cuba and the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico during the next couple of days", the center said. It was moving north around 7 miles per hour (11 kph).

After the storm moves inland, it could dump additional unwanted rain on the Carolinas, which were battered by Florence in September.

The NWS release said there is considerable uncertainty regarding the track, intensity, and timing of Michael, but confidence is increasing that it will directly impact the southeast Georgia and southeast SC area.

Hurricane season 2018 isn't slowing down just yet.

Forecasters also measure hurricane intensity by central pressure, with lower pressures denoting a tighter circulation, better organization, and more powerful storm.

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