In fact, the situation is already looking so dire for a midweek landfall on the Florida panhandle that Governor Rick Scott has preemptively declared states of emergency in numerous counties while suspending his own Senate campaign to warn residents of impending danger.
This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a view of Tropical Storm Michael, lower right, churning as it heads toward the Florida Panhandle, Sunday, Oct. 7.
With maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour while moving north at 9 miles per hour, Michael is now "bringing hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall to western Cuba" as storm surge and hurricane warnings have been issued for the northeastern area of the Gulf Coast.
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. "As we continue to monitor this storm's path toward Florida, it is critically important that our communities have every available resource to keep everyone safe".
Texas: There will be some ESE windswell early this week, but the real Michael swell isn't expected until Wednesday.
Here is the NHC's forecast bubble for the storm ... He also waived tolls in a move to help coastal dwellers leave. A Storm Surge Watch has also been issued from Navarre, Florida to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay.
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In Florida, state offices, schools and universities were set to close Tuesday through the end of the week in panhandle counties.
The U.S. military was moving its aircraft from the Panhandle on Monday. Forecasters warned that the storm could produce up to a foot (30 centimeters) of rain in western Cuba, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas.
The storm was centered about 80 kilometers off the western tip of Cuba, and about 220 kilometers east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico.
In neighbouring Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey signed an emergency declaration for her entire state Monday in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and heavy rain from the storm getting set to cross the eastern Gulf of Mexico in coming hours. Pfaff said this risk is higher if the storm moves west of the area.
Once the storm moves onto land, it will start to slow down and will most likely be significantly weaker than it is now, Steve Pfaff, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, said.
Heavy rains at the weekend caused 13 deaths in Central America after Michael formed off the coast of northern Honduras.