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It's forecast to move toward the Baja this week and eventually make landfall as a tropical storm by week's end.

The National Hurricane Center indicates that Tropical Depression 14 has strengthened and is now Tropical Storm Michael, centered over the northwest Caribbean Sea.

The timing and trajectory of the storm could change as it heads north.

A hurricane watch has been issued for north Florida and a tropical storm watch has been issued for parts of the western coast of Florida, including Tampa. It should enter the Gulf Monday afternoon and become a hurricane by Monday evening. On average, the Atlantic would have about five hurricanes by October 8. However, forecasts have gradually been revised upward, such that the storm may attain major hurricane status - category 3 or higher - before making landfall in the panhandle around Wednesday.

"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely risky", Scott said.

"Everybody's got to get ready".

Florida declares emergency in 26 counties as Tropical Storm Michael approaches
Due to several rounds of very heavy rain, much of the central USA could see almost 3 to 6 inches of rain through Wednesday . The Hurricane Center predicts unsafe surf conditions will start to appear along the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday.

"Do not take a chance on storm surge", Scott said. This will bring the threat for torrential rainfall as well as significant storm surge to the coast; those with interests in the region will want to keep a close eye on the forecast as it develops. The storm has increased from winds of 35 miles per hour on Sunday to 75 miles per hour by late Monday morning.

The cross-track spread among the spaghetti models has decreased since yesterday, but there continues to be differences in how fast Michael moves northward over the Gulf of Mexico.

Florida's State Emergency Operations Center will activate to a Level 2 Sunday morning which means the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) has activated, enhancing coordination between federal, state and local emergency management agencies.

There is also a tropical storm warning for the Cuban provinces of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth. There's also a warning in effect for the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche. Swells generated by Michael will affect the south coast of Cuba and the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Outer bands from Michael are expected produce as much as 4 inches (10 cm) of rain through Tuesday in the Florida Keys, one of several areas in the state devastated by Hurricane Irma a year ago. Stormy and windy weather will no doubt occur before landfall, with the timing of impacts potentially starting as early as sunrise on Wednesday. On Sunday, CEMA urged residents to maintain awareness of the storm.