Tropical Storm Michael could strengthen into hurricane, forecasters say

Monday, 08 Oct, 2018

Tropical Storm Michael formed on October 7, 2018, according to an 1 p.m. update from the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Officials along the northeastern and central U.S. Gulf Coast are encouraged to keep an eye on the storm.

Tropical Depression Fourteen is located 90 miles east of Chetumal, Mexico and 260 miles south-southwest of the western tip of Cuba.

If it develops into a tropical storm, it will be called Michael, the next name in the list from the hurricane center. "The system could become a hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday", the hurricane center's advisory said.

Satellite wind data indicated the depression had strengthened Sunday morning with maximum winds of 40 miles per hour.

Before the depression became a tropical storm, Florida Gov. Depending on how quickly this system moves northward, the center of Michael could approach the Gulf Coast as soon as late Tuesday.

The fourteenth tropical depression of the Atlantic hurricane season formed just south of the Yucatan Peninsula early Sunday morning. Heavier showers are forecast for western Cuba (3 to 7 inches), as well as the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize and Northern Honduras (2 to 4 inches).

With a state of emergency declared, Governor Rick Scott can ensure that state and local government has ample time, resources, and flexibility to get prepared for this storm. The depression is expected to turn north later on Sunday and continue in that direction through Wednesday.

Rainfall amounts in parts of Central America and western Cuba will range from 3 to 6 inches, with up to 1 foot possible locally. The storm's current predicted track shows it making landfall Wednesday in the Panhandle, according the National Hurricane Center. This system could potentially become a hurricane in the Gulf.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is now en route to investigate Michael.