On the forecast track, on Monday, the storm will move over the Yucatan Channel and then across the eastern Gulf of Mexico late Monday through Tuesday night, and approach the United States northeastern Gulf coast on Wednesday. Impacts from Tropical Storm Michael will be experienced much sooner than the actual landfall itself (which occurs when the due center of the eye crosses over land).
The forecast Monday calls for mostly dry, summer like weather although the day began with low clouds and fog reported in parts of the Triangle.
"In fact, almost every piece of intensity guidance brings the cyclone to hurricane strength before it reaches land, including the GFS, ECMWF, and UKMET global models, which all show significant deepening of the central pressure", National Hurricance Center forecaster Robbie Berg wrote in a morning discussion of the storm.
FEMA administrator Brock Long said the agency was prepared for the storm in all the states likely to feel Michael's impact.
On Monday at 5 a.m., the National Hurricane Center issued the Tropical Storm Watch from the Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, including Tampa Bay.
The chance for tropical storm-force winds in Volusia and Flagler counties ranges from 20 to 40 percent as the storm moves northward to the west, the National Hurricane Center said, with the higher chances in the northern part of the two-county area, as the storm moves toward a landfall on the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday.
As of Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service's Raleigh office was forecasting 3 inches of rain in central North Carolina from Tuesday through Friday, including chances for rain ahead of Michael's expected arrival.More news: Ousted Guardians of the Galaxy director switches camps, tied to new DC Comics film
Michael will move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through Tuesday night.
A hurricane center graphic showed the disturbance gaining storm-level winds of over 39 miles per hour on Monday and maintaining those speeds as it potentially hits the Florida coast east of Pensacola on Wednesday.
As we head into the start of the week, all eyes turn to the Gulf of Mexico, where Tropical Storm Michael is gaining strength. As a result the first warnings for storm surge have also been released.
The hurricane center upgraded the tropical depression in the Caribbean to a named tropical storm, saying it had winds of up to 40 miles per hour (65 kph).
A hurricane warning was in effect for the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River, with a hurricane watch in place from the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border.
An Air Force hurricane hunter airplane was being sent into the storm to investigate, the hurricane center said. He returned to Tallahassee Sunday morning to oversee the state's response to the storm.
In North Carolina, still reeling from the destruction of Hurricane Florence last month, Gov. Roy Cooper warned that Michael could bring moderate storm surge, downed trees and power outages to his sodden state.