Florida comes under a hurricane watch as Michael rapidly strengthens

  • Florida comes under a hurricane watch as Michael rapidly strengthens

Florida comes under a hurricane watch as Michael rapidly strengthens

Meteorologist Adam Klotz discusses timeline, details of tropical storm Michael.

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the Alabama Gulf coast, while a Hurricane Watch has been issued for the northwestern coast of Florida.

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Michael has gotten a little stronger and is next expected to dump heavy rains over western Cuba in the coming hours before it makes its way toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Hurricane watches are already in place for parts of the panhandle, and tropical storm watches are in place for parts of south Georgia just outside our viewing area.

The system is set to bring heavy rain and flash flooding to areas of Central America, western Cuba and Mexico's Yucatan peninsula as early as Sunday night. A Hurricane Watch has been issued from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwanee River.

The Hurricane Center predicts unsafe surf conditions will start to appear along the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday.

As of the 11 a.m. advisory Monday, the NHC upgraded Michael to a category 1 hurricane, with winds of 75 miles per hour.

The tropical storm is expected to swell into a Category 1 hurricane as soon as Monday night or early Tuesday as it rolls into the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, with winds of at least 70 miles per hour, forecasters said.

On Sunday, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 26 counties in North Florida and around the big Bend, to establish time, resources and flexibility for government agencies to prepare for the storm. "There will be a significant threat along the coast of hurricane force winds, storm surge that could be exceed 6 to 12 feet in some locations, rains totaling 4" - 8" with local amounts up to 12", and isolated tornadoes.

For now, US carriers are likely to begin waiving change fees for coastal airports along Michael's projected path.

The storm was located by 11 p.m. ET Sunday about 105 miles (170 kilometers) east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico and moving to the north at about 5 mph (7 kph).

From there, all indications are that it will move farther north or to the northeast.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).

Elsewhere, the hurricane center is monitoring two areas of low pressure.