• HURRICANE MICHAEL TRACK: Storm strengthens, could impact metro Atlanta

    By: Severe Weather Team 2

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Michael has intensified into a hurricane and additional strengthening is expected as the storm moves into the Gulf of Mexico.

    Right now, Hurricane Michael remains a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph.

    The storm is already bringing hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall to Western Cuba, according to an advisory released by the National Hurricane Center. The Gulf Coast is already experiencing flooding, and lines of drivers were seen waiting for gas Monday night. 

    We're using the world's most powerful weather technology to track Hurricane Michael, on Channel 2 Action News This Morning, starting at 4:30 a.m.

    Parts of southwest Georgia is under a Tropical Storm Watch.

    Channel 2's team of Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologists have been using the world's most powerful weather technology to monitor the storm for more than a week even before it was classified as a tropical system.

    [DOWNLOAD: Free Severe Weather Team 2 App]

    Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brad Nitz has been tracking tropical storms and hurricanes for decades and he said that you need to be watching Hurricane Michael. 

    As of Monday, the storm is gaining strength, moving at 12 mph to the north.

    The risk for life-threatening storm surge, heavy rainfall and dangerous winds is increasing for the northeastern Gulf Coast.

    SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

    A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

    • The Gulf Coast of Florida from the Alabama/Florida border eastward to Suwannee River

    A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

    • Alabama/Florida border westward to the Mississippi/Alabama border
    • Suwannee River Florida southward to Chassahowitzka Florida

    A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:

    • Navarre Florida to Alabama/Florida border

    A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

    • Alabama/Florida border westward to the Mississippi/Alabama border

    A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

    • Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay
    • Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border
    • In Georgia, Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Clinch, Coffee, Columbia, Echols, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Jeff Davis, Suwannee and Ware counties

    [RELATED: How does a hurricane form?]

    A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the next 12 hours.  Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed
    to completion.

    A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.

    A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area.  A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

    A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

    State of Emergency Declared for Florida 

    Florida Governor Rick Scott declared state of emergency as Tropical Storm Michael barrels toward Panhandle.

    Scott has suspended his Senate campaign to focus on the impending storm, he announced Sunday.

    “This storm will be life-threatening and extremely dangerous,” he warned during a Sunday afternoon briefing.

    “This storm has the potential to bring devastating impacts to the Panhandle and Big Bend and every family must be prepared,” Scott said.

    He has activated 1,250 national guardsmen.

    Florida State University announced that the campus will be closed beginning at midnight through the rest of the week.

    According to Panama City News Herald, mandatory evacuations for three zones in Bay County begin Tuesday morning ahead of the hurricane.

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