Michael has undergone a period of "rapid Intensification" - defined as an increase of sustained winds of 35 mph in a 24-hour period. Its center is located 500 miles south of Appalachicola and is moving north at 9mph.
The conditions presented by county officials Monday are subject to change as the storm continues to track closer to Florida's coast.
A hurricane watch is now posted for the northeast Gulf Coast from the Alabama/Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida, including Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee. All that warm Gulf water can fuel a storm quickly.
Rick Scott on Sunday warned that the storm could become a Category 2 hurricane by the time it makes landfall at midweek. The biggest concerns for the Florida coastline, particularly an area between Destin and Apalachicola, are strong winds and a damaging storm surge. DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK -------- At 400 PM CDT (2100 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Michael was located near latitude 19.2 North, longitude 85.5 West. Michael is moving toward the north-northeast near 3 miles per hour (6 km/h).
St. Johns County Emergency Management said Monday that it is monitoring Michael and participating in conference calls with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, National Weather Service Jacksonville and National Hurricane Center to get the most up-to-date information.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is also the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the November 6 elections, said on Sunday he was cancelling his campaign events and returning to Tallahassee to focus on storm preparations.
"Do not take a chance on storm surge", Scott said.
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, according to the agency. Meanwhile, Hurricane Michael is forecast to hit Florida's northwestern coast by October 10.
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.
"Additional strengthening is forecast, and Michael is expected to become a hurricane later today". RAINFALL: Michael is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 7 inches over western Cuba and 2 to 4 inches over the Yucatan Peninsula and Belize through Tuesday.