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Warnings Issued for Hurricane Michael

Warnings Issued for Hurricane Michael

Michael's trek to Florida is also affecting politics in the state. Forecasters say it could be a Category 2 hurricane or stronger by the time it makes landfall.

Residents of Florida's Panhandle frantically filled sandbags, boarded up homes and secured boats Monday as they anxiously awaited Hurricane Michael, which forecasters warned could smash into the state's Gulf Coast as a risky major hurricane within days.

Enhanced infrared satellite loop of Hurricane Michael about to enter the Gulf of Mexico.

Having lived in Florida for the last 20 years, Richard said he is taking all necessary precautions. "Don't take a chance", he said. Fong, who lives in Miami, said he has stocked up on essentials and is keeping abreast of news on Michael.

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The storm is aiming at a region that stretches from Mobile, Alabama, through the Florida Panhandle and into the Big Bend area of northern Florida.

A tropical storm watch was issued from Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, which also includes Tampa Bay.

There is now a storm surge warning in effect for the Gulf Coast of Florida from the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to the Anclote River. In the below tweet, storm chaser Jeff Piotrowski states his belief that Michael even has the potential to reach Category 4 status, although most outlets are sticking with one notch below for now.

The latest wind speed probabilities show over a 50 percent chance of winds of 40 miles per hour or greater for most of our area.

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Michael was about 140 miles east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and 50 miles south of the western trip of Cuba, the NHC said in an 11 a.m. advisory. Tropical storm watches extend farther south through the Tampa Bay area to Anna Maria Island and, to the west, along the Alabama coast.

Michael has been upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane as it continues to move toward the Gulf Coast of the United States. Data from an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 50 miles per hour (85 km/h) with higher gusts. The biggest concerns for the Florida coastline, particularly an area between Destin and Apalachicola, are strong winds and a damaging storm surge.

"I haven't made up my mind yet, but I know some of my staff are going", said Dave Trepanier, owner of Firefly, a restaurant a block from the beach in Panama City, Bay County, an area where the hurricane is expected to come ashore.

An Inland Hurricane Watch has been issued for Baker, Brooks, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Holmes, Miller, Mitchell, Thomas, Worth counties in Georgia. On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move near the northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula Monday morning, and then across the eastern Gulf of Mexico late Monday through Wednesday morning.

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When looking at the forecast cone, remember this represents where the center of the storm will go, and it could be anywhere within the cone of uncertainty.