Florida Air Force bases eye incoming Hurricane Michael

As of the 5 p.m. advisory, Michael is now a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

It was moving to the North at 7 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on October 7 declared a state of emergency for several areas in Florida and "also directed the Florida National Guard to activate 500 guardsmen to assist with planning and logistics, and to prepare for response in impacted areas".

"Hurricane Michael is a massive storm that could bring total devastation to parts of our state, especially the Panhandle", Scott said.

The National Hurricane Center says Michael is now a hurricane and will continue to strengthen as it approaches US. "It is forecast to move very quickly and there would not be the rain like we had before". HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND -------- WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area by this evening or tonight, making outside preparations hard or risky.

As forecast, Michael would be the first Category 3 or higher hurricane to hit the Panhandle since Hurricane Dennis in 2005. A hurricane watch was in effect from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River area.

The storm was centered about 30 miles (80 kilometers) off the western tip of Cuba, and about 520 miles (835 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida. A Storm Surge Watch has also been issued from Navarre, Florida to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency order Monday after concerns of severe weather and possible damages were raised. The threat along the coast includes serious storm surge.

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Escambia through Franklin counties in Northwest Florida are included in the hurricane watch.

An Air Force hurricane hunter airplane was sent into the storm to investigate, the hurricane centre said.

The chances of tropical storm winds are low but it is possible that strong gusts Tuesday night into Wednesday might reach tropical storm force. These chances could go up as we get greater confidence in the forecast.

Scott activated 500 National Guard troops in advance of the storm.

Interim Emergency Management Chief Steve Litschauer said several county and Anna Maria Island officials had a conference call with state National Hurricane Center partners Monday to discuss the county's response to Hurricane Michael.

After hitting Florida, the storm is forecast to move northeast along the Atlantic Coast and batter the Carolinas, which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence last month.

"Hurricane conditions will spread over portions of western Cuba this afternoon, where a hurricane warning is now in effect".

The governor noted that while state officials are prepared for the storm, she said "now is the time for residents in south Alabama to review your emergency preparedness plans and also get prepared" - warning that those in Michael's path "will need to take shelter by [Tuesday] evening".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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