Tropical Storm Michael prompts hurricane watch for part of Florida

Nicondra Watching Tropical Wave In the Caribbean

"This storm will be different from the most recent Hurricane Florence, in that it will continue moving as it makes landfall and limit catastrophic rain potential, however, some rain totals near landfall could still near or exceed one foot or 12".

Scott said during a 6 p.m. news conference that he declared an emergency in 26 counties in the Panhandle and the Big Bend - generally areas surrounding Tallahassee - because of a storm in the Gulf of Mexico that became Tropical Storm Michael on Sunday.

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, Michael is centered about 220 miles south of Panama City, Florida, and moving north at 12 mph.

The big picture on where the storm is expected to go has also shifted some since Saturday afternoon, when tracking showed Michael crossing the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama as a tropical storm. Leslie was moving east-southeast at 13 miles per hour. The storm is forecast to land a direct hit on Tallahassee, where Gillum is mayor.

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"Michael could produce three life-threatening hazards along portions of the northeastern Gulf Coast: storm surge, heavy rainfall and hurricane-force winds", according to the hurricane center. The low is expected to become a tropical depression later today and a tropical storm by tonight. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Michael could strengthen at some point to a category 4 storm. Michael was now a Category 1 hurricane, at the bottom of the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. A strong east wind will maintain higher than normal water levels along eastern facing shores of Louisiana and MS through Tuesday and so a COASTAL FLOOD ADVISORY has been posted.

Michael might bring strong winds and possible power outages to the area, according to St. Johns County Emergency Management. "We're going to get storm surge, we have wind, we have a chance of flooding, we have a significant chance of tornadoes".

NHC forecasters say that a northward motion at a slightly faster forward speed is expected through Tuesday night, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday. Our long range models are disagreeing but both agree on a Wednesday landfall. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov.A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. "Storm preparations should be rushed to completion today and Tuesday".

Now is the time to prepare in the case of heavy rain and severe storms.

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