The National Hurricane Center upgraded Tropical Storm Michael to a Category 1 hurricane Monday morning with forecasters expecting the storm to hit the U.S. along Florida's Gulf coast as a potential Category 3 Hurricane.
The storm initially formed near Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and is currently located about 50 miles off the western tip of Cuba, moving north toward the Gulf Coast at about 7 mph. The hurricane is expected to strengthen to a Category 3 hurricane once it reaches the warmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico later tonight.
"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," NHC tweeted.
Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 26 counties on Sunday night and activated 500 National Guard troops in advance of the storm. In a photo tweeted by Scott, the governor of Florida urged families to get prepared for storm now while they still had time.
"This morning I met with local officials and emergency management professionals in Bay County in preparation for Hurricane Michael. I will be in Pasco County this afternoon to give another briefing. FL families need to get ready for this storm RIGHT NOW," Scott tweeted.
"EVERY FAMILY must be prepared. We can rebuild your home, but we cannot rebuild your life" Scott warned.