With additional strengthening, it is anticipated to become a hurricane before making landfall along the Florida panhandle on Wednesday.
Interests along the northeastern and central Gulf Coast areas are advised to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Michael. Major impacts could start midweek - depending on the storms track, the release says. As the depression moves over warmer water and experiences less wind shear, it is expected to strengthen.
Meteorologist Morgan Barry of the National Weather Service in Mobile says the Hurricane Hunters will be entering the storm later this afternoon and that should give forecasters more needed information.
The tropical system that has been brewing in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday reached tropical-storm strength, becoming Tropical Storm Michael, with the forecast to become a hurricane later in the week. Michael today has exhibited maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour.
The "risk of unsafe storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts continues to increase", the National Hurricane Center warned Sunday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center upgraded the tropical depression in the Caribbean to a named tropical storm during the day, saying Michael had winds of up to 50 miles per hour (85 kph).
An area of disturbed weather in the western Caribbean developed into Tropical Depression 14 early Sunday morning.
The latest forecast cone now gets Michael to hurricane status by Wednesday, which remains the most likely date for landfall. In the meantime, there are some changes to the latest forecast based on how the computer models have handled the storm today.
The only other storm in the Atlantic is Tropical Storm Leslie has zig-zagged in intensity. Michael is expected to resume a slow northward trek Sunday while picking up speed in the coming days, according to the hurricane center.