By Caribbean News Now contributor
MIAMI, USA — Hurricane force winds were affecting western Cuba on Monday, as Hurricane Michael was expected to move into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico during Monday evening, with maximum sustained winds near 80 mph (130 km/h) with higher gusts. 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.
A wind gust to 75 mph (120 km/h) was reported at an observing site in Isabel Rubio in the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio earlier on Monday afternoon.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Michael is expected to produce rainfall of 4 to 8 inches to western Cuba, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches, which could lead to life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
Swells generated by Michael are affecting the south coast of Cuba and the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.