Michael has formed.
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.
The Grand Strand is in the projected path and could feel tropical-storm effects between Wednesday and Friday. As of the 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, our area has a 20-30 percent chance of feeling tropical-storm-force winds.
The system was located 130 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico and moving north-northeast at 3 mph with maximum winds of 50 mph at the time of the update. “Strengthening is forecast during the next several days, and Michael could become a hurricane by Monday night or Tuesday,” according to the NHC.
The current forecast has the storm reaching the U.S. mainland in western Florida as a Category 1 hurricane sometime Wednesday. The model has the storm passing through South Carolina sometime Thursday.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for parts of Cuba and the east coast of Mexico, which are expected to get substantial rainfall over the next few days, the NHC reports. Michael is expected to resume a slow northward trek Sunday while picking up speed in the coming days, according to the hurricane center.
The storm is forecast to move near the northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula on Monday before moving across the eastern portion of the Gulf of Mexico on Monday night through Tuesday night, the NHC reports.
The National Hurricane Center says the system’s tropical-storm-force winds reach out up to 205 miles, mainly to the north and east of the eye of the storm.
“Interests along the northeastern and central U.S. Gulf coast should monitor the progress of Michael,” the NHC says.