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Another potential impact with the arrival of Michael is tropical storm force wind gusts.

Unlike Hurricane Florence, Tropical Storm Michael, now located west of Cuba and packing 70 miles per hour winds, is a fast-moving storm. Its movement speed was only 8 km/h.

Lowndes County can expect "at least" 40 miles per hour winds, with gusts to hurricane strength, and three to five inches of rain when the storm moves through the county Wednesday, said Kelly Godsey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Tallahassee, Fla., office.

The storm, which was 100 miles south-southwest of the western edge of Cuba as of 5 a.m., is moving north at 7 mph, toward the Gulf Coast, according to the National Hurricane Center. The low is expected to become a tropical depression later today and a tropical storm by tonight.

Sea swells causing strong coastal flooding can be expected for the south coast of Pinar del Rio and Artemisa provinces and light to moderate in Mayabeque and the Isle of Youth, noted the Cuban weather service. A storm surge of up to 12 feet is forecast for a large section of the Florida coast. Scott said state officials are already working on planning, logistics and first response with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defense.

The Hurricane Center is forecasting that Michael will be a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) when it makes landfall Wednesday night or Thursday along the Florida Panhandle or Big Bend areas. "Probabilities of significant impacts along the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend are increasing", the advisory says. But within hours Sunday it had gained more punch and its top sustained winds clocked in at 60 mph (95 kph) by late Sunday evening. Scott also activated 500 members of the Florida National Guard ahead of the storm.

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey also declared a state of emergency in her state, "in anticipation of widespread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael".

After reaching land, Michael is expected to travel northeast at hurricane strength as it passes over Georgia.

"Our state understands how serious tropical weather is and how devastating any hurricane or tropical storm can be", Scott said.

The Florida Keys are expected to get 2 to 4 inches of rain, and the Yucatan Peninsula could get 1 to 2 inches of rain. "This storm will be life-threatening and really unsafe".

Central Florida is expected to see up to 4 inches of rain in the coming days as Michael's outer bands whip the region.


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