It’s official: Michael now a Category 1 hurricane; expected to strengthen

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Hurricane Michael is on its way.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Michael was upgraded from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane Monday morning.

The NHC expects the storm to make landfall in Florida on Wednesday before driving into the southeastern states that night into Thursday.

The hurricane now has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph with gusts up to 90 mph and was about 80 miles from the western tip of Cuba.

"Steady to rapid strengthening is forecast during the next day or so, and Michael is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday or Tuesday night," the NHC said.

The NHC predicts Michael to cross the eastern Gulf of Mexico Monday evening into Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the storm is expected to climb over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area.

From there, Michael will continue northeast into the southeastern states Wednesday night and Thursday.

The storm is expected to bring 2-3 inches of rain to parts of North Carolina including the Piedmont Triad.

The NHC reported watches and warnings for a hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge in a number of areas in Florida and the Caribbean on Michael's approach.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • The Cuban province of Pinar del Rio

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • The Cuban province of the Isle of Youth
  • The coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, including Cozumel

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:

  • Navarre Florida to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

  • Alabama-Florida border to Suwanee River Florida

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

  • Suwanee River to Anna Maria Island Florida, including Tampa Bay
  • Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border

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