"Michael" Could be in Our Forecast by End of Week

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The Hurricane Center noted that the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend areas into southern Georgia are looking at 4 to 8 inches of rain from Michael, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches. The low is expected to turn northward later today, with that motion continuing for the next couple of days.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in more than 20 counties along the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend on Sunday.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky", Scott said after receiving a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center.

The weather system, named Tropical Depression 14, was classified a cyclone as it churned through the northwestern Caribbean sea with 35 miles per hour winds on Sunday morning. There's also a warning in effect for the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche.

A satellite image shows a view of Tropical Storm Michael, churning as it heads toward the Florida Panhandle.

After reaching land, Michael is expected to travel northeast at hurricane strength as it passes over Georgia.

The NHC said that Michael is expected to "spread heavy rains over Western Cuba" on October 7. Heavy rain and flash flooding is also possible.

A man pulls a boat as Tropical Storm Michael approaches in Cancun, Mexico, October 7, 2018.

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At 5 a.m., the tropical storm was located about 90 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico, and about 100 miles south-southwest of Cuba.

The two days that we are monitoring for potential Michael impacts are Wednesday and Thursday.

A news release from the governor's office said declaring a state of emergency ensures that state and local governments have ample time, resources and flexibility to prepare for the storm. He says winds in those areas could reach more than 100 miles per hour (160 kph). He warned that storm surge could affect areas of Florida not in the storm's direct path.

While the storm will pass well west of Tampa Bay, the area will see gusty south and southeast winds with showers Monday through Wednesday.

If Tropical Depression Fourteen becomes a storm, it will be named Michael. The storm's tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles from its center, according to the weather center.

"Interests along the northeastern and central U.S. Gulf coast should monitor the progress of Michael", the NHC says.

The Commodity Weather Group said on Sunday there might be some precautionary evacuation of oil rigs in the area affected by the storm, which may slow down operations but not likely cause much interruption.

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