Florida Governor To Declare State Of Emergency Ahead Of Possible Hurricane

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Tropical Storm Michael moves near the western tip of Cuba.

A hurricane warning is in effect for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio and tropical storm warnings are posted for the Isle of Youth in Cuba and the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, including Cozumel.

Hurricane Michael strengthened into a Category 4 storm early Wednesday as it made a final approach to the northwestern Florida coastline before it arrives on land. Its movement speed was only 8 km/h.

It's predicted to head straight for the northeastern Gulf Coast, probably making landfall as Category 2 Hurricane Michael on Wednesday, the hurricane center said.

"If any Florida family doesn't have an emergency preparedness plan, now is the time to act", Scott said in a release on Sunday. Those tropical storm effects will extend inland across southern Georgia and into SC - the storm will pick up speed as it's carried at the tail end of a cold front.

The NHC says that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 miles per hour with higher gusts.

When the storm moves ashore, it will probably be a Category 1 storm, with winds between 74-95 miles per hour, said Frank Strait, senior meteorologist for the private forecasting firm AccuWeather.

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Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 275 miles from the center.

In a morning update, National Hurricane Center forecasters said a hurricane hunter plane discovered early Monday that the storm had intensified despite upper levels winds expected to keep it in check. However, forecast information will change and anyone with interests from Biloxi, Mississippi to Gulf Shores, Alabama to the Big Bend of Florida should continue to monitor this situation.

He added that the storm is forecasted to have similar impacts to Hurricane Hermine, which littered debris and knocked out power for days in Tallahassee and the surrounding area just two years ago.

Many of these areas seeing the downpour of rain could also see life-threatening flash floods, the hurricane center said.

The big picture on where the storm is expected to go has also shifted some since Saturday afternoon, when tracking showed Michael crossing the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama as a tropical storm.

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.