Hurricane Michael prompts Alabama to declare state of emergency

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

As of 2pm on Monday, Michael was located just SW of the western tip of Cuba, moving N around 6kt with maximum winds of 65kts.

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

Storm surge of up to 11 feet is predicted for some stretches of the Florida coast, and up to 12 inches of rain will fall in some isolated areas, says the center.

Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich said anywhere from Panama City to Cedar Key, Florida could see significant storm surge from Hurricane Michael.

Michael pounded western Cuba with heavy rain and strong winds and is forecast to make landfall as a hurricane midweek on the northeastern US Gulf Coast.

Since the storm will spend two to three days over the Gulf, which has very warm water temperatures and favorable atmospheric conditions, "there is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall", Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the Miami-based storm forecasting hub, wrote in an advisory.

"And should there be any disruption in the system, it will be in place to activate immediately so that we don't have disruption, particularly amongst our highest critical need area, the hospital", said Gillum. One man named Richard said he lives nowhere in the areas expected to feel the brunt of Michael.

Tropical storm conditions are expected across the remainder of the warning areas in Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula later today.

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The Florida Panhandle is on alert as Tropical Storm Michael works its way to the northern part of the Sunshine State. From there, the storm will quickly move northeastward into the Carolinas by Thursday. "On the state level we are prepared, now is the time for residents in south Alabama to review your emergency preparedness plans and also get prepared".

The U.S. military was moving its aircraft from the Panhandle on Monday. This rainfall may lead to life-threatening flash floods.

Hess Corp, Royal Dutch Shell and Anadarko Petroleum Corp said they were monitoring the storm and would take actions as needed. Serious hurricane effects will not be restricted to coastal areas and may extend further inland, potentially affecting the Tallahassee area.

The forecast indicates Michael may be a Category 3 hurricane - with winds from 111 to 129 miles per hour - when it strikes.

Michael emerged Sunday as a tropical storm with winds of up to 50 miles per hour (85 kph).

Forecasters also measure hurricane intensity by central pressure, with lower pressures denoting a tighter circulation, better organization, and more powerful storm. Parts of New England could also see some downpours with totals between 2 to 4 inches. Heavy rain is not expected on Monday.

"Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other risky conditions".

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