Tropical Storm Michael Strengthening in Northwestern Caribbean Sea, Could Threaten Northeastern Gulf Coast as a Hurricane Midweek
Tropical Storm Michael is strengthening in the northwestern Caribbean Sea and could threaten the northeastern Gulf Coast as a Category 1 or 2 hurricane by midweek with dangerous storm surge, damaging winds, and heavy rainfall.
Michael is currently centered about 105 miles east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, moving slowly toward the north.
Tropical storm warnings have been posted for western Cuba and Mexico's northeastern Yucatan Peninsula, including Cancun. Tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) are expected to first reach the tropical storm warning area by early Monday morning, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
Hurricane watches will likely be issued for portions of the northeastern Gulf Coast of the United States on Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Rainfall totals of 3 to 7 inches are forecast over western Cuba, with 2 to 4 inches over the Yucatan Peninsula and Belize through Tuesday. Isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible in western Cuba.
These downpours could contribute to life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides, particularly in areas of mountainous terrain.
Michael's outer rainbands are also expected to produce 2 to 4 inches of rain across the Florida Keys through Tuesday.
Forecast guidance is unanimous that Michael will be drawn northward through the Gulf of Mexico and pose a threat to the northeastern Gulf Coast by midweek.