Officials warn residents to keep an eye on Tropical Storm Michael

Officials warn residents to keep an eye on Tropical Storm Michael

Michael will arrive as an "extremely dangerous" storm Wednesday afternoon with winds of 145 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. update Wednesday. By the 7 p.m. update, wind speed had increased to 60 miles an hour. American's waiver covers flights to and from four Florida cities: Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Pensacola and Tallahasee.

Assuming Michael does not deviate from the current forecast path, Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay, will see the storm's effect, with that area placed under Tropical Storm and Storm Surge watches. Michael could dump up to eight inches of rain, with 12 inches possible in some areas.

Before Michael arrives, moist air pushed north by the storm will start boosting South Georgia's afternoon storm chances through Tuesday, Strait said.

Below is additional information from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm, which was 100 miles south-southwest of the western edge of Cuba as of 5 a.m., is moving north at 7 mph, toward the Gulf Coast, according to the National Hurricane Center. Right now we are right on the edge of the track, meaning we'll have to watch it. If Tropical Depression Fourteen becomes a storm, it will be named Michael.

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In its most recent advisory Monday, the Hurricane Center upgraded Michael from a tropical storm when maximum sustained winds were recorded at 75 miles per hour with higher gusts.

With Tropical Storm Michael gaining strength in the Gulf of Mexico, Gov. Rick Scott declared an emergency in 26 counties Sunday night including Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. The NHC now calls for Michael to reach category 3, or major hurricane strength by late Tuesday, making landfall along the Florida Panhandle late Wednesday or early Thursday.

A hurricane warning has been issued for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio and tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Cuban province of Isle of Youth and the Mexican coast from Tulum to Cabo Catoche.

On the forecast track, the center will move through the Yucatan Channel Monday morning and then across the eastern Gulf of Mexico late Monday through Wednesday.

Outer bands from Michael are expected to produce up to 4 inches (10 cm) of rain through Tuesday in the Florida Keys, one of several areas in the state devastated by Hurricane Irma past year. Isolated areas could get 12 inches and life-threatening flash floods.

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