Storm Michael strengthens in Caribbean, threatens U.S. Gulf coast

As of 5 a.m. Thursday, Michael had maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour and was continuing to weaken across eastern Georgia.

Stronger sustained tropical-storm force winds would be confined to the coast or just off shore, maybe for Citrus County, if at all, says FOX 13's meteorologist Dave Osterberg.

As the storm moved north it battered Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba with drenching rains and winds of up to 80 miles per hour (130 kph), the Miami-based hurricane centre said.

The first rains from Michael were already beginning to soak the Florida Keys on Monday, with up to four inches (10 centimeters) expected to fall through Tuesday. The National Hurricane Center calls it "an extremely risky category 4 hurricane", and news media in the state were already posting photos showing significant damage soon after the storm came ashore.

Thousands of Florida residents have been ordered to leave their homes as Hurricane Michael heads for the state's coast.

The Florida Department of Health is actively monitoring the tropical storm and is in close communication with the Division of Emergency Management's State Emergency Response Team.

"As we continue to monitor this storm's northward path toward Florida, it is critically important that our communities have every available resource to keep everyone safe and prepared", he said in a statement.

"#Michael could produce three life-threatening hazards along portions of the northeastern Gulf Coast: storm surge, heavy rainfall, and hurricane-force winds, with storm surge and hurricane watches in effect", the NHC said on Twitter. Remember, the impacts from a tropical system can and do occur miles away from the center. This is in addition to a Flash Flood Watch.

Hurricane Michael is a rare, but not unprecedented, October storm
A new hurricane is making its way toward Florida and is expected to bring more rainfall to southeastern North Carolina this week. Heavy rains are likely across parts of the state with total rainfall amounts varying, depending on the exact path Michael takes.

Storm Near Gulf of Mexico Aims for Florida’s Panhandle
Rick Scott warned that the storm could have far-reaching effects, regardless of where it lands. ET Sunday update , the maximum winds are estimated to be 40 miles per hour with higher gusts.

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Duke Energy projects 300,000 to 500,000 power outages across the Carolinas; most of those outages will occur on Thursday.

Forecasts show Hurricane Michael will likely travel north after making landfall on the Gulf Coast, then turn east, potentially hitting the Hampton Roads region.

He said, "There's nothing between us and this storm but warm water and I think that's what terrifies us about the potential impacts". "Macon and areas to the south could see rain totals from 3-6", dependent on the final track of the storm.

Plus, with hurricanes and tropical storms, the biggest threat to human life is the water that comes from storm surge and rain-related flooding.

She believes this could even mean an increased amount of damage in places like the Carolinas because they're still recovering. Michael was now a Category 1 hurricane, at the bottom of the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. Panovich expects the storm to move between Columbia, South Carolina, and Charleston, South Carolina Thursday morning.

"Never ends, but we're all prepared and hopefully it won't be as bad as it's looking", Mr. Trump said.

"This is a part of the Gulf of Mexico that is incredibly vulnerable to storm surge", he said.

The chance of rain drops to 30 percent Friday through the weekend. North Carolina may receive 2cm to 7cm of rain, officials say, which could trigger flash flooding due to the existing level of saturation in the ground from Hurricane Florence, which struck North and SC last month.

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