"Michael" Could be in Our Forecast by End of Week

The hurricane center's current forecast track shows the storm is expected to strengthen further and could hit the Florida Panhandle as a Category I hurricane on Wednesday.

Tropical Depression 14 is now said to be located about 90 miles south of Cozumel, Mexico and 225 miles southwest of the western tip of Cuba.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Cuban provinces of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth. It would be Tropical Storm Michael, the next name on the hurricane center's list. It is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm tonight and it would become Michael.

Nelson cautioned against social-media speculations on the storm's impact.

Garcia said the tropical storm has the potential to produce gusty winds, heavy rain and flooding in South Florida, as well as possible isolated tornadoes through mid-week.

AccuWeather added in a report that rain and gusty winds are expected to ramp up across the central and/or northeastern Gulf Coast around midweek.

At 7 a.m. Sunday, the center of Tropical Depresson 14 was located near latitude 18.9N, longitude 86.8W.

According to a news release from Scott's office, the declaration will ensure governments have the "time, resources and flexibility" to prepare for the storm. The current forecast keeps the center east of MS, making landfall sometime Wednesday or early Thursday between Mobile and Panama City most likely as a tropical storm.

The projected path of what is expected to turn into a tropical storm then a hurricane as the week wears on. Governor Scott has said that he plans to declare a state of emergency in counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend.

At 100 a.m. CDT (0600 UTC), radar data from Belize indicated that the low pressure system was centered near latitude 18.4 north, longitude 87.1 west.

The NHC said that Michael is expected to "spread heavy rains over Western Cuba" on October 7. Tuesday and Wednesday's forecasts will be highly dependent on the track. Michael will continue its path north over the Gulf of Mexico on Monday and Tuesday, gaining strength over through Wednesday morning. We will closely monitor it as it becomes more organized.

  • Joey Payne