MIAMI (AP) — A tropical weather system rapidly strengthened into Hurricane Michael off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and forecasters said it was moving Monday into the Gulf of Mexico where warm waters would continue to fuel its development.
Michael could strengthen into a major hurricane with winds topping 111 mph (178 kph) by Tuesday night before an expected strike on Florida’s Panhandle or Big Bend, according to the National Hurricane Center.
By 11 a.m. Monday, Michael’s top sustained winds were around 75 mph (120 kph).
The storm was centered about 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the western tip of Cuba, and about 140 miles (220 kilometers) east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico. It was moving north around 7 mph (11 kph).