According to the NHC, Michael is forecast to be near or at major hurricane strength when it reaches the northeastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night and Wednesday. Hurricane force winds and several inches of rain are possible.
A hurricane watch stretches from the Alabama/Florida border (between Mobile and Pensacola) eastward to the Suwannee River, and hurricane warnings will likely follow for most or all of the area.
Michael is 140 miles east-northeast of Cozumel, Mexico, moving toward the north near 7 mph as it moves into the southern Gulf of Mexico with 75 mph winds.
The tropical storm is expected to swell into a Category 1 hurricane as soon as Monday night or early Tuesday as it rolls into the Gulf of Mexico, with winds of 70 miles per hour, as of 5 a.m. eastern time, forecasters said, just shy of being named a hurricane.
Hurricane watches have been posted from the Alabama/Florida border to Suwannee River, Florida which is just to the northwest of Cedar Key on Florida's west coast.
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Navarre, Florida, to Anna Maria Island, Florida, including Tampa Bay.
"Michael expected to become a hurricane very soon", the National Hurricane Center announced in its 8 a.m. bulletin in Monday.
In addition, "heavy rainfall from Michael could produce life-threatening flash flooding from the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region into portions of the Carolinas through Thursday", the Hurricane Center warned. As we have seen before, it can change direction and impact any part of our state", Scott tweeted Monday morning, adding, "EVERY FAMILY must be prepared. Scott also activated 500 members of the Florida National Guard ahead of the storm.
"Michael is forecast to be a risky major hurricane when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and life-threatening storm surge is possible along portions of the Florida Gulf Coast", the National Hurricane Center wrote Monday.
Michael's trek to Florida is affecting politics in the state.
The overall outlook was for some showers and thunderstorms which will develop inland on Tuesday afternoon and spread to coastal areas late Tuesday evening into Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Scott, the Republican nominee for US Senate, will be leaving the campaign trail for the "next few days" to address storm preparations, a campaign spokesperson told CNN.