JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Despite shear, the storm managed to rapidly intensify overnight into Monday morning, indicating its potential to overcome barriers and become a hurricane Monday.
In fact, the National Hurricane Center states it may become a Category 3 hurricane before landfall Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Michael is 90 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico, moving toward the north near 7 mph as it moves into the southern Gulf of Mexico with 70 mph winds.
The track takes the developing storm as a hurricane toward a landfall near the Florida Panhandle Wednesday.
The storm will head northward and pick up speed Tuesday evening.
On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move over the Yucatan Channel on Monday, and then across the eastern Gulf of Mexico late Monday through Tuesday night, and approach the United States northeastern Gulf Coast on Wednesday.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles to the northeast and southeast of the center.
Astronomical King Tide cycles will cause extra high storm surge on portions of the Florida Gulf Coast with the highest 7-11 foot surge near Apalachicola to Crystal River, 4-6 feet near Crystal River to Anclote River, and 2-4 feet around Tampa Bay.
Jacksonville will experience tropical downpours and storms by midweek as the system makes landfall.
A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from Navarre Florida to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay.
A Hurricane Watch has been issued from the Alabama-Florida border eastward to the Suwanee River Florida.
A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from the Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay. A Tropical Storm Watch has also been issued from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.