Tropical Storm Idalia is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it heads toward the Florida Gulf Coast.
Tropical Storm Idalia The hurricane is rapidly intensifying as it heads towards Florida, threatening to become a major hurricane and bring heavy rains, flooding and dangerous storm surges, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Idalia is expected to strengthen into a hurricane on Monday and make landfall Wednesday morning near Big Bend, Florida, as a Category 2 hurricane.
“Hurricane Idalia is likely to be near or at severe hurricane intensity when it reaches Florida’s Gulf Coast.” Hurricane Centre He said.
The hurricane center said in a 2 a.m. update Monday that the storm is now 150 miles off the western tip of Cuba, bringing maximum sustained winds of up to 60 mph.
The hurricane center added, “Idalia has been moving erratically and is almost stationary.” “It is expected to begin moving north-northeast-north later today, bringing the center of Idealia into the far southeastern Gulf of Mexico by tonight.”
And along Florida’s Gulf Coast, a hurricane warning has been issued from Englewood to the Corridor of India, including Tampa Bay, according to the Hurricane Center. A Tropical Storm Warning was also issued for Dry Tortugas, Florida, while a Tropical Storm Warning was issued for the Lower Florida Keys west of the western end of the Seven Mile Bridge.
Tropical storm conditions are likely in dry Tortugas starting late Monday and along Florida’s Gulf Coast on Tuesday.
The expected arrival of the storm later this week prompted Florida to deploy rapid water rescue teams as local officials called for evacuations, announced school closures and warned residents to prepare their belongings.
With the current forecast track for Idalia, western Cuba is expected to experience hurricane conditions by late Monday, with winds likely to reach tropical storm force by Monday morning. The Cuban government has upgraded the Tropical Storm Warning for Pinar del Rio to a Hurricane Warning.
The Hurricane Center said: “Preparations must be completed to protect lives and property.”
As the storm approaches, the Tampa Bay area is expected to see 4 to 7 feet above normal tidal levels. The heaviest storm surge is expected in Big Bend, Florida, where ocean levels can reach 10 feet above normal tide.
As higher waters move inland from the shoreline, normally dry areas near the coast may be inundated, according to the Hurricane Center.
Scattered flooding and urban flooding are also forecast across parts of Florida’s west coast, Florida Panhandle and southern Georgia as Tropical Storm Idalia will drop 3 to 6 inches of rain with isolated amounts of up to 10 inches from Tuesday through Wednesday.
Heavy rains can also cause flash flooding across parts of the Carolinas from Wednesday through Thursday.
Western Cuba can also see 3 to 6 inches of rain with isolated amounts of up to 10 inches.
Florida prepares for Idalia
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday urged Florida residents to “heed the warnings of local officials” as the state prepares for Idalia’s arrival.
“Our Emergency Operations Center here in Tallahassee will move to Level 1, 24 hours a day, beginning at 7 a.m. EDT on Monday,” DeSantis said.
In preparation, DeSantis said, 1,100 National Guardsmen have been mobilized with high-water vehicles and planes for rescue and recovery efforts. The Florida Highway Patrol also has 300 soldiers ready to deploy.
Energy companies will also begin organizing employees on Monday, according to the governor.
“If you are in the path of a storm, you should expect a power outage, so please prepare for that,” the governor told residents.
Hillsboro County, where Tampa is located, declared a local emergency in anticipation of the potential impacts of Hurricane Adalia.
A local state of emergency was also declared Sunday in Citrus County, where schools will be half-day on Monday and closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“All citizens and businesses in Citrus County should prepare for storm impacts — residents living in campers, RVs, tents and other structures unable to withstand tropical storm winds, or along the west side of U.S. Highway 19, are advised to move voluntarily,” the county said.
Hernando County schools will also be closed Monday through Wednesday due to Idalia, according to the Florida Department of Education.
Voluntary evacuations were issued for some areas of Hernando County on Sunday. “All residents living in coastal and low-lying areas, as well as manufactured homes, are included county-wide,” the county said in a post on Sunday. Facebook.
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