Michael now a Category 1 hurricane

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He also stated in his message that there was reason to believe that Tropical Storm Michael could become a Category 3 hurricane, but it is unknown if weather officials have confirmed that possibility.

The storm's projected path shows Michael staying west of peninsular Florida, making a landfall somewhere along the Panhandle on Wednesday. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay as well as the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border, according to the NHC. Meanwhile, Michael continues to strengthen as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico.

The weather system could produce winds topping 111 miles per hour by Tuesday night, before slamming into the Florida Panhandle or Big Bend, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in more than 20 counties, and advised Gulf Coast residents to prepare for possible evacuation orders.

The NWS release said there is considerable uncertainty regarding the track, intensity, and timing of Michael, but confidence is increasing that it will directly impact the southeast Georgia and southeast SC area.

"The main hazards will be gusty winds, flooding and isolated tornadoes", the National Weather Service's Hazardous Weather Outlook for South Florida said at 11 a.m. Monday. The storm's tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles from its center.

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Senators were allowed to read it behind closed doors in a secure location in the Capitol, without taking notes or making copies. While the comments by Flake and Collins were positive, neither explicitly announced support for Kavanaugh.

"Michael is expected to produce heavy rainfall and flash flooding over portions of western Cuba and the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico during the next couple of days", the center said. The National Hurricane Center is telling residents to take this threat seriously and to expect storm surge and heavy rainfall along with risky winds.

Storm surge just east of where the center makes landfall could reach 8 to 12 feet, if the storm comes ashore around high tide. It could strengthen into a major hurricane with winds topping 111 miles per hour (178 kph) before an expected strike Wednesday on Florida's Panhandle.

Florida State University campuses in Tallahassee and Panama City plan to close Tuesday through Friday.

As was the case with recent devastating hurricanes such as Florence and Harvey, forecasters say the biggest dangers for this storm come from the massive amounts of water Michael will bring, in the form of a storm surge and intense rainfall.

A man pulls a boat as Tropical Storm Michael approaches in Cancun, Mexico, October 7, 2018.

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