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Florida Tourism Alert: Hurricane Michael on the way

Florida Tourism Alert: Hurricane Michael on the way

Tourists in Florida may be in for another Hurricane at this time. Hurricane Michael will continue to intensify and is forecast to strike the Florida Panhandle as a Category 3 with dangerous storm surge flooding, destructive winds, and flooding rainfall. Michael will also bring heavy rain and strong winds to other parts of the southeastern United States after it moves inland.

The storm has the potential of interrupting air travel, and of major destructions.

Michael is currently centered about 20 miles southwest of the western tip of Cuba and is moving northward.

Outer rainbands from Michael are already soaking the Florida Keys, and rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches are likely there through Tuesday. A few localized spots could see up to 6 inches of rain in the Keys.

Michael rapidly intensified from 11 a.m. EDT Sunday to 11 a.m. EDT Monday, when its winds increased from 35 mph to 75 mph during that 24-hour period.

A hurricane watch is now posted for the northeastern Gulf Coast from the Alabama/Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida, including Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee. The hurricane watch also extends inland to southwestern Georgia, including Albany. Hurricane watches are issued 48 hours before the anticipated arrival of tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph), which is when outside preparations become dangerous.

Tropical storm watches are in effect from Suwanee River, Florida, to Anna Maria Island, Florida, including Tampa Bay. Also in a tropical storm watch is a swath from the Alabama/Florida border to the Mississippi/Alabama border as well as inland areas of southern Alabama and southwest Georgia.