Tropical Storm Michael strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm, which is expected to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle, could be as strong as a Category 3, with winds between 111 and 129 mph, by the time it hits the state.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued a state of emergency for 28 counties Sunday and extended it Monday into the Tampa Bay area.
“Take this seriously and keep your family safe,” Scott said Monday. “We know that a storm like Michael can be devastating and deadly.”
As of the NHC’s 2 p.m. update, Michael was about 20 miles southwest of the western tip of Cuba and 145 miles northeast of Cozumel, Mexico with sustained winds up to 75 mph.
Forecasters have predicted between 3 and 7 inches of rain over western Cuba and 2 to 4 inches over the Yucatan Peninsula,Belize and northern Honduras through Tuesday.
A hurricane warning is already in effect for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio and a tropical storm warning for the Isle of Youth, as well as the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, including Cozumel.
The most recent forecast predicts Michael moving into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico Monday night, then into the eastern Gulf and over the Florida Panhandle or Big Bend area by Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center warned that Michael could dump between 4 and 8 inches of rain in Western Cuba, the Panhandle and the Carolinas, which were just hit by Hurricane Florence.