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Tropical storm Michael upgraded to hurricane in Gulf of Mexico

AFP  |  Miami 

Tropical storm Michael strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane Monday as it barreled toward the packing maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour, meteorologists said.

The weather system was located between Mexico's peninsula and the west coast of by 1500 GMT and was heading slowly towards the of Florida, the (NHC) in said.

It is expected to be a major Category 3 hurricane by the it hits on Wednesday, before moving northeast across the through Thursday.

"#Michael could produce three life-threatening hazards along portions of the northeastern Gulf Coast: storm surge, heavy rainfall, and hurricane-force winds, with storm surge and hurricane watches in effect," the NHC said on

"Residents in these areas should follow advice given by local officials."

Heavy rainfall from Michael could produce "life-threatening flooding," the NHC said, from the Panhandle and Big Bend region into portions of the through Thursday.

The first rains from Michael were already beginning to soak the Keys on Monday, with up to four inches (10 centimeters) expected to fall through Tuesday.

Florida declared a state of emergency for 26 counties.

"We are running out of time," the Republican said on "TODAY is the day to get a plan, because tomorrow could be too late." "This storm will bring torrential rain, heavy winds and dangerous storm surges to many areas of our state," he tweeted.

announced it was closing for the week Tuesday, along with schools in county, home to the state capital Tallahassee.

Tallahassee's Andrew Gillum, who is campaigning to succeed Scott as in next month's elections, suspended his campaign and returned to the state capital to oversee storm preparations.

The are on the long recovery from Hurricane Florence, which left dozens dead and is estimated to have caused billions of dollars in damage last month.

It made landfall on the coast as a Category 1 hurricane on September 14 and drenched some parts of the state with 40 inches (one meter) of rain. Last year saw a string of catastrophic storms batter the western Atlantic -- including Irma, Maria and Hurricane Harvey -- causing a record-equaling USD 125 billion (107 billion euros) in damage when it flooded the metropolitan area.

For this hurricane season, the US-based forecasting service and predict between five and nine storms of Category 3 or stronger.

Scientists have long warned that global warming will make cyclones more destructive, and some say the evidence for this may already be visible.

At their most fearsome, these low-pressure weather fronts pack more power than the released by the atomic bomb that levelled

"EVERY FAMILY must be prepared. We can rebuild your home, but we cannot rebuild your life," Scott added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, October 09 2018. 00:45 IST
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