FSU cancels classes as Hurricane Michael heads toward Panhandle

Courtesy MGN

Courtesy MGN

But within hours Sunday it had gained more punch and its top sustained winds clocked in at 60 mph (95 kph) by late Sunday evening.

Hurricane Michael is approaching northern Florida and as Gov. Rick Scott expanded his state of emergency declaration to include Manatee County, local officials are urging residents to be prepared but have not issued a state of emergency.

DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK -------- At 100 PM CDT (1800 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Michael was located near latitude 19.2 North, longitude 86.9 West. Michael is now stationary but is expected to resume a slow northward motion later today.

Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum cancelled his campaign events in South Florida on Monday and is back home preparing for Hurricane Michael. A hurricane watch is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to the Suwanee River, and tropical storm watches have been issued from the Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island and from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border. The National Hurricane Center is telling residents to take this threat seriously and to expect storm surge and heavy rainfall along with unsafe winds.

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Hurricane Michael is expected to hit Northwest Florida or the Big Bend in the middle of the week as what the National Hurricane Center has described as a "major hurricane".

A tropical storm watch has been issued from the Suwannee River in the Big Bend, south to Anna Maria Island, just south of Tampa Bay.

The storm's center track for now is projected to take Michael northeast into southwest Georgia over Albany and east of Macon.

Additionally, we have a Storm Surge Watch up for Tampa Bay Waters as well as High Surf Advisories, Rip Current Advisories and a Small Craft Advisory.

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"It depends on what the city says in terms of the people getting around".

Almost a month after Hurricane Florence created unprecedented flooding, the Grand Strand is in another storm's path. Maximum sustained winds are now at 70 miles per hour and additional strengthening is forecast. The category one hurricane is expected to affect parts of the state later this week.

Although few forecast models were predicting it would reach major hurricane status at the time, it seemed possible given that the storm was now moving away from the Yucatan Peninsula landmass and toward warmer waters in the southern Gulf of Mexico, where it will encounter lower overall wind shear.

The governor also activated 1,250 National Guardsmen and said he would waive tolls for residents who were evacuating.

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The latest forecast cone now gets Michael to hurricane status by Wednesday , which remains the most likely date for landfall. The Hurricane Center predicts unsafe surf conditions will start to appear along the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday.

"All indications are that it's going to be severe", said City Commissioner Gil Ziffer, adding that if the storm hits Florida's capital, there would be significant tree damage and power outages. Interests along the northeastern and central U.S. Gulf coast should monitor the progress of Michael. The effects of the storm will reach Horry County most likely on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

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