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The hurricane is moving north at 7 miles per hour with max sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.

Governor Rick Scott ordered a state of emergency Sunday for 26 counties in the Panhandle and Big Bend area, which will free up resources for storm preparation and recovery efforts.

The fast developing storm is now a Category 1 hurricane expected to strengthen as it nears Florida.

Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum cancelled his campaign events in South Florida on Monday and is back home preparing for Hurricane Michael.

A hurricane warning - meaning hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours - is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River in Florida, the National Hurricane Center said. All that warm Gulf water can fuel a storm quickly. Hurricane and Storm Surge Watches have been issued for parts of the Florida Gulf Coast, please monitor the National Hurricane Center and your local National Weather Service office for details as it relates to the protection of life and property.

Michael was a Category 1 hurricane but could make landfall as a Category 3, and forecasters warned it could send down 10 to 30 centimetres of rain. He warned that storm surge could affect areas of Florida not in the storm's direct path.

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, but the NHC's forecast model shows that the storm could hit Western Europe by next week. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles (335 km) primarily to the east of the center. "Michael is forecast to be near or at major hurricane strength when it reaches the northeastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night and Wednesday".

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Scott said 500 Florida National Guard members had been activated for planning, logistics and response, and another 5,000 stood at the ready.

Early Monday afternoon, Michael was centered about 20 miles off the western tip of Cuba and about 600 miles south of Tallahassee, Florida.

The governor issued the warning after a briefing by Pasco's emergency personnel at the county's emergency operations center, the hotspot for county officials and first responders during and after a storm.

"While the impacts are still uncertain, our area could experience increased wind activity and heavy rainfall, which could cause localized flooding and downed trees", Tallahassee officials said in a statement. Meanwhile, Hurricane Michael is forecast to hit Florida's northwestern coast by October 10.

The rainfall could lead to "life-threatening" flash floods and mudslides in mountainous regions, the hurricane center said.

The NWS release said there is considerable uncertainty regarding the track, intensity, and timing of Michael, but confidence is increasing that it will directly impact the southeast Georgia and southeast SC area.


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