Trinis watch for Hurricane Michael

A satellite image of Tropical Storm Michael taken Monday

Michael is now a Category 1 hurricane, packing maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour as of late Monday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

With maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour while moving north at 9 miles per hour, Michael is now "bringing hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall to western Cuba" as storm surge and hurricane warnings have been issued for the northeastern area of the Gulf Coast.

Michael was classified as a Category 1 hurricane as of 10 a.m. Cayman time on Monday, when its maximum sustained winds were measured at 75 miles per hour.

7A.M. The Tuesday morning update from the National Hurricane Center reports that Michael is now a catergory 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour. If the forecast is correct, Michael would be the 11th major hurricane to hit Florida in October since records began in 1851, Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach said.

Currently, Central Florida is only expected to experience some heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday. Based on the latest analysis from the NHC, surge inundation flooding of 9 to 13 feet is possible in vulnerable areas between Mexico Beach and Keaton Beach.

Worry over Hurricane Michael has also postponed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission's highly anticipated hearings into the high school massacre scheduled for this week, as many of those on the commission live in the panhandle. Needless to say, Michael should be taken seriously.

There is a risk for tornadoes in Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We're looking at a significant storm with significant impact, possibly greater than I've seen in my 59 years of life", Johnson said of the city, straddling the shore of Apalachicola Bay, a Gulf of Mexico inlet that reaps about 90 percent of Florida's oysters.

"Unfortunately, it looks like it's coming directly at us and all you can do is prepare", he said.

Monday afternoon, Scott announced he expanded the declaration to include Manatee County, along with Bradford, Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Alachua, Union and Baker counties.

Michael battered parts of Mexico and Cuba with powerful winds and drenching rains on Sunday and into early Monday.

"The FL panhandle needs to be prepared for a direct hit with sustained hurricane force winds", Scott wrote on Twitter on Monday. It is expected to cut quickly across the Peach State toward the Carolinas and areas flooded severely last month by Hurricane Florence. The storm's tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles from its center, according to the weather center. The weather advisory warned of potential mudslides in Cuba and life-threatening flash floods for areas of Florida, the mid-Atlantic states and ranging up to southern New England.

By the time Michael reaches the Carolinas, it will be a weakening tropical storm. "Alabamians should always be prepared, but everyone needs to make final preparations now to be ready for Hurricane Michael", Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings said.

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