- Hurricane Michael is heading towards Florida’s Gulf coast, where it’s expected to make landfall on Wednesday.
- Experts say the hurricane today will likely strengthen to at least Category 3 by Tuesday night, making it a major hurricane.
- Michael will bring heavy rains, storm surge, and dangerous winds to parts of Cuba and Florida. Some of those effects are already being felt.
- The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane warning for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio and a hurricane watch for parts of the Florida coast.
Florida is bracing for yet another hurricane.
On Sunday, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 26 counties ahead of Hurricane Michael’s arrival. The storm is expected to strengthen to at least a Category 3 hurricane as it moves through the Gulf of Mexico today and tomorrow, and make landfall in Florida on Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As of Monday morning at 11 a.m. ET, the hurricane was churning about 50 miles south the western tip of Cuba. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a hurricane warning for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio, while a hurricane watch is in effect along the Florida coast, from the Alabama border to the Suwannee River.
The storm is already bringing rain to the Florida Keys, and is expected to reach the state’s Panhandle or Big Bend areas on Wednesday, the NHC said. Its maximum sustained wind speeds are around 75 mph, but that’s likely to increase over the next two days.
Gov. Scott implored those living in northeast Florida to keep track of the storm and evacuate if necessary. Residents in that region have been told to stock up on enough water, food, and medicine to last three days.
Michael is expected to bring heavy rain, strong winds, and life-threatening storm surge. The coastal area from Indian Pass to Crystal River – an hour and a half north of Tampa – is expected to see the highest storm surge, with 8 to 12 feet predicted.
In the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend areas, residents could see 4 to 8 inches of rain, with a few areas getting up to 12 inches. That could lead to life-threatening flash floods, the NHC warned.
In Cuba, hurricane conditions are expected spread across the western part of Pinar del Rio starting this afternoon.
After making landfall, the hurricane is predicted to push inland, bringing heavy wind and rain to the southeastern US late in the week.
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