Tropical Storm Michael forms in the Yucatan

Tropical Storm Michael forms in the Yucatan

Forecasters said Tropical Storm Michael is likely to form Sunday night and could reach the Gulf coast by Wednesday. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads.

Outer bands from Michael are expected produce as much as 4 inches (10 cm) of rain through Tuesday in the Florida Keys, one of several areas in the state devastated by Hurricane Irma a year ago. A Category 1 hurricane has sustained winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour.

Michael emerged Sunday as a tropical storm with winds of up to 50 miles per hour (85 kph).

An area of disturbed weather near Honduras has a good chance of becoming a tropical depression in the central Gulf of Mexico by Sunday or Monday, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said. This is now the 13th named storm of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season. Significant impacts are expected near landfall along the Florida Panhandle to the Big Bend. Michael could become a hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday, the NHC said in a Sunday afternoon advisory.

After reaching land, Michael is expected to travel northeast at hurricane strength as it passes over Georgia. The activation would provide 24-hour enhanced coverage across Florida's Big Bend and Panhandle.

"If this storm hit Panama City, Tampa could still have storm surge", said Scott, referring to two Florida cities about 375 miles apart by highway.

It seems that after the storm makes a potential landfall, it will quickly race north and east. Isolated areas could get 12 inches and life-threatening flash floods.

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency in anticipation of damage from Hurricane Michael. Scott said state officials are already working on planning, logistics and first response with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defense.

In the Caribbean, a hurricane warning is in effect for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio - where most of Cuba's famed cigar tobacco is grown - and a tropical storm warning has been issued for the Isle of Youth.

"Our state understands how serious tropical weather is and how devastating any hurricane of tropical storm can be", Scott said in a statement.

A separate area of persistent very heavy rainfall is expected along the Pacific coast of Central America and Mexico, including western Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and the state of Chiapas in Mexico.

Due to the King Tides - exceptionally high tides - along both coasts, coastal flooding also could be a concern.

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