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TROPICAL STORM MICHAEL FORMS, SET TO HIT GULF COAST AS HURRICANE

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The National Hurricane Center says newly named Tropical Storm Michael could strengthen to a hurricane as it heads to the Florida Panhandle.

The hurricane center today upgraded the tropical depression in the Caribbean to a named tropical storm, saying it had winds of up to 40 mph (65 kph).

The hurricane center advised residents along the northeastern and central U.S. Gulf Coast to monitor the storm’s progress.

The storm is expected to continue to strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall.

The storm was about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Cozumel, Mexico by mid-day Sunday.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for the Cuban provinces of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth as well as the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche.

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