Michael expected to gain hurricane strength as it approaches Florida

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at the Baltimore Fleet Week and Air Show Oct. 7

Tropical Storm Michael is strengthening on its way north, becoming a hurricane, possibly a major one, before a forecast hit to northwest Florida.

A tropical storm watch was issued from Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, which also includes Tampa Bay.

Michael battered parts of Mexico and Cuba with powerful winds and drenching rains on Sunday and into early Monday as it churned in the Caribbean.

"That means the Panhandle and Big Bend can see winds in excess of 100 miles per hour".

By Monday, Hurricane Michael was a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of about 75 miles per hour.

The NHC has forecast that Michael is slated to strengthen and will bring heavy rains, damaging winds, and storm surge.

A hellish October surprise is looming off Florida's Gulf Coast, threatening to upend some of the country's most important mid-term political races with hurricane-force winds.

The storm is expected to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle, but as it travels through the Gulf of Mexico in the next few days, it can create storm surge for Tampa Bay.

Melania Trump feeds baby elephants in Kenya to highlight conservation efforts
She also was expected to visit an orphanage and take in a children's performance at Nairobi National Theater. She is now in Malawi and will end up visiting Kenya and Egypt to complete her week-long visit to Africa.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely unsafe", Scott said Sunday, warning of the potentially perilous storm surges the storm could bring. It is expected to become a hurricane very soon. Scott also activated 500 members of the Florida National Guard ahead of the storm.

Areas to the east of where the storm center tracks will experience the greatest storm surge, and flooding will be worst around the high tides.

By 11 a.m. Monday, Michael's top sustained winds were around 120 kph. "Upwards of 100 miles per hour winds, could be greater than that, Category 2 or Category 3, so we've got to be prepared for that". This rainfall could lead to life threatening flash floods.Florida Peninsula, Florida Keys, portions of the Mid-Atlantic States, and the southern New England coast.2 to 4 inches with local amounts of 6 inches.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida Monday and Tuesday, but he said he would return to Tallahassee to help with storm preparations.

Gillum and Scott notoriously traded jabs regarding relief efforts after Hurricane Hermine hit Florida in 2016 over whether city officials were doing enough to get electricity restored in the heavily tree-lined city.

Swells are expected to begin affecting the coast of the eastern and northern Gulf of Mexico during the next day or so.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for western Cuba.

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