We are closely watching recently named Tropical Storm Michael.
Located in the Western Caribbean, Michael is already producing heavy rain between Central America and Hispaniola with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour. U.S. Air Force Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to investigate the storm today.
According to the National Hurricane Center, it is expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday where it will gradually strengthen. Michael will enter an environment that is favorable for development as it moves into the southern Gulf of Mexico. Warm sea surface temperatures combined with low wind shear will help to fuel the continual development of this system.
The latest computer models suggest the system will strengthen into a hurricane and make landfall between Southwest Alabama coast to the Big Bend of Florida on Wednesday. There is a large amount of uncertainty in the forecast, so changes in timing, strength, and track are expected. Hurricane watches and warnings are expected to be issued by the National Hurricane Center within the next 24 hours.
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This system could bring storm surge, rain, and wind impacts to the northern and northeastern Gulf Coast. Regardless of where it may make landfall, it is important to be prepared as impacts can be felt far from the center of the storm. People living along the Gulf Coast should review any hurricane plans this weekend.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends November 30. WEAR-TV will have the latest updates on-air and online.