Tropical Storm Michael formed Sunday and could become a hurricane as soon as later today as it gains strength and heads toward the Florida Panhandle.

The National Hurricane Center upgraded the tropical depression in the Caribbean to a named tropical storm yesterday, saying Michael had winds of up to 50 mph.

By Sunday afternoon, the NHC said, Michael had gained more punch and the threat to the northeast Gulf Coast was rising.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday said he planned to declare a state of emergency for counties in the Florida Panhandle and the Big Bend area of the state. The declaration would free up resources for storm preparation.

Forecasters are advising residents along the northeastern and central U.S. Gulf Coast to monitor the storm’s progress.