It's now Hurricane Michael and it's hitting Cuba

Tropical Storm Michael, Heading North, Could Become Category 2 Hurricane

The Category 1 hurricane, as of 5 p.m. EDT Monday, is forecast to possibly strengthen to a Category 3 with maximum sustained winds topping 111 miles per hour near its center of rotation before reaching the Gulf Coast on Wednesday morning at Panama City Beach, Fla.

Hurricane Michael is intensifying now in the Gulf of Mexico, but its impact on eastern Virginia is still uncertain.

With the center of the storm targeting the central Florida Panhandle, that part of the area will get storm surge, hurricane wind heavy rain and possible tornadoes. "Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes".

Scott already declared a state of emergency and has activated over 1,200 National Guard members.

National Hurricane Center warns Hurricane Michael could produce life-threatening conditions along the Gulf Coast; Adam Klotz reports from the Fox Extreme Weather Center.

Finally, a potent African wave is located near the Cabo Verde islands and has a shot at becoming at least a tropical depression this week, if not a tropical storm, before conditions become more hostile by the weekend.

Tropical storm force winds are possible as early as Wednesday.

Rick Scott says Hurricane Michael is a "monstrous storm" that has the potential to be devastating to the Florida Panhandle.

In addition to parts of western and northern Florida, a hurricane watch is also in effect for Mobile, Alabama and surrounding areas.

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from the Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island, Fla., including Tampa Bay. "Remember, this storm could grow stronger and be a Category 3 hitting our state". The rains in Cuba's west were expected to begin Sunday night and continue Monday.

The Atlantic Basin has seen seven hurricanes this year.

Scott warned that Michael could reach land as a Category 2 hurricane, with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky", Scott said Sunday following a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center. "Every family must be prepared".

Hess Corp, Royal Dutch Shell and Anadarko Petroleum Corp said they were monitoring the storm and would take actions as needed. The threat along the coast includes serious storm surge.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued on Monday for residents in Florida's Gulf and Bay counties, according to a statement from emergency officials.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday, but instead threw himself into helping his city's residents fill sandbags and get their storm preparations completed.

In the Caribbean, a hurricane warning is in effect for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio. Tropical storm winds extended out 170 miles (275 kilometers), primarily to the northeast and southeast of the storm's center. Heavy rain is not expected on Monday.

Monday will be similar to Sunday but with a stronger breeze and better rain chances. It also shows additional moisture before the storm arrives.

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