The tropical storm named Michael has strengthened to a category 1 hurricane, bringing heavy rainfall and strong winds across western Cuba, the National Hurricane Center said Monday. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 75 miles an hour and is located about 50 miles south of the western tip of Cuba, the agency said in its latest advisory. A hurricane warning is in effect for the Cuban province of the Isle of Youth, while tropical storm warnings are in effect for nearby areas. The storm is expected to move northward this afternoon and to enter the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by tonight. It is then expected to churn inland over the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday and then move northeastward across the southeastern U.S. “Steady to rapid strengthening is forecast during the next day or so, and Michael is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday or Tuesday night,” says the advisory.
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