Tropical Storm Michael could strengthen into hurricane, forecasters say

Tropical wave could affect western Caribbean

The storm brewing in the Caribbean strengthened to become Tropical Storm Michael about noon on Sunday, and experts now expect it to develop into a hurricane that could impact the Carolinas.

As of 2 p.m. Sunday, Tropical Storm Michael was centered about 90 miles south of Cozumel, Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is now en route to investigate Michael.

Wind shear, which has slowed the storm's development so far, is forecast to relax, which should also enable the storm to gain strength.

Tropical Depression 14 is now said to be located about 90 miles south of Cozumel, Mexico and 225 miles southwest of the western tip of Cuba.

The storm has winds of 40 miles per hour with higher gusts. A warning indicates tropical storm conditions are expected, in this case, within 24 hours. It triggered flash-flooding warnings for that area and western Cuba.

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It is still too soon to know the exact track of the storm, James Carpenter, National Weather Service meteorologist, said Sunday.

Scott encouraged residents in the path of the storm to prepare now, and directed everyone to visit FloridaDisaster.org to find information on emergency preparedness, shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.

The only other storm in the Atlantic is Tropical Storm Leslie has zig-zagged in intensity. What remains of the storm should pass near or just southeast of Virginia Thursday into Friday. When plotted together on a map, the flowing together of the multiple models appear like strands of spaghetti - hence the name, "spaghetti models".

The advisory said the center of the storm was forecast to move near the northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula on Monday morning and "then across the eastern Gulf of Mexico late Monday through Wednesday morning". Two factors will be critical in clarifying the forecast over the next day or so.

The latest forecast cone now gets Michael to hurricane status by Wednesday, which remains the most likely date for landfall.

7, according to a 1 p.m. update from the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

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