MIAMI (AP) — Michael has become a hurricane as the storm gets ready to move into the Gulf of Mexico.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami say Michael will move over very warm waters and could strengthen into a major hurricane with winds topping 111 mph (178 kph) by Tuesday night.
Michael was lashing western Cuba late Monday morning with heavy rains and strong winds.
According to the hurricane center, Michael’s top sustained winds were around 75 mph (120 kph). The storm was moving north around 7 mph (11 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.
Michael is forecast to make landfall by midweek in Florida’s Panhandle or Big Bend.