Gov. Ivey declares statewide State of Emergency in preparation for Hurricane Michael

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at the Baltimore Fleet Week and Air Show Oct. 7

Florida's governor mobilized National Guard troops and ordered Gulf Coast residents to head inland or get ready to evacuate as Hurricane Michael churned toward shore on Monday, with the storm forecast to strengthen rapidly before making landfall on Wednesday.

Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 26 counties as Tropical Storm Michael lashed Cuba.

Michael, a Category 1 hurricane on Monday, was predicted to strengthen to a Category 3 major hurricane by Wednesday, with winds at least 111 miles per hour.

Since the storm will spend two to three days over the Gulf, "there is a real possibility that Michael will strengthen to a major hurricane before landfall", Berg wrote.

Manatee County also was included in Scott's request that President Donald Trump declare a pre-landfall emergency in those 35 counties in preparation for Hurricane Michael.

Hurricane Sergio is still continuing to churn out in the eastern Pacific Ocean, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC), but the storm is forecast to take a turn toward the northeast and may bring heavy rain to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas after hitting northwestern Mexico.

4 P.M. Hurricane warnings are now up between the Alabama-Florida state line and the Suwannee River as Hurricane Michael continues moving north at a slightly higher forward speed and 80 miles per hour winds.

Tropical Storm Leslie is slated to strengthen later on October 8, the NHC said.

"It's a storm to keep an eye on", said meteorologist Tony Saavedra with the National Weather Service in Newport.

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As the storm interrupted numerous political campaigns across Florida, including his own, Scott warned it could come ashore in the next couple of days with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour. Flooding will threaten some areas as rain continues to fall, and the region could experience strong, gusty winds and a minor threat of tornadoes, Close said.

It's expected to move over the Yucatan Channel and then crosses the Gulf of Mexico, nearing the Florida Panhandle coast by Wednesday.

Hurricane watches and storm surge watches have been issued along the Florida Panhandle.

Michael is projected to strike an area that is exceptionally prone to storm surge due to the adjacent shallow shelf water and the concave shape of the coast.

A year ago millions of customers across Florida were without power after Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Keys and then again in Collier County before crawling up the spine of the state.

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from the Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island, Fla., including Tampa Bay.

The Suncoast is at the very southern edge of the impacts expected from Hurricane Michael as it lifts north.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum canceled campaign events in South Florida on Monday and Tuesday to prepare for the storm, his campaign said.

Outer rain bands from Michael are already affecting the Florida Keys and estimated two to four inches of rainfall are likely there today.

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