Tropical Storm Idalia is gaining power as it barrels into Florida and may intensify to a deadly Category 3 storm when it hits the shore with a combination of destructive storm surge, strong winds, and heavy rain.

Tropical storm in West michigun

Tropical Storm Idalia

According to the National Hurricane Center, Idalia is anticipated to become a hurricane on Monday and make landfall as a hazardous major storm on Wednesday morning close to the Big Bend of Florida.

“Life-threatening storm surge and dangerous winds” are “becoming increasingly likely for portions of Florida,” the hurricane agency said early on Monday.

According to a hurricane center report at 5 a.m., the storm is roughly 125 miles off the western point of Cuba and is generating maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.

Idalia’s track may be found here.

The hurricane center said, “Idalia has been moving erratically and is almost stationary.” “Idalia’s center is expected to cross the extremely southeasterly Gulf of Mexico by tonight,” according to the forecast. Later today, a move toward the north-northeast and north is anticipated to start.

Tropical Storm

The hurricane center has issued a hurricane watch for the Florida Gulf Coast from Englewood to India Pass, which includes Tampa Bay. A tropical storm watch has been issued for the Lower Florida Keys west of the Seven Mile Bridge, and a tropical storm warning is also in effect for the Dry Tortugas in Florida.

Beginning late on Monday, there is a chance of tropical storm conditions near the Dry Tortugas, and on Tuesday along the Florida Gulf coast.

Florida has sent out rapid water rescue teams in anticipation of the storm’s anticipated arrival later this week while local authorities have issued evacuation orders, announced the closure of schools, and advised citizens to secure their properties.

Given Idalia’s predicted trajectory, hurricane conditions are anticipated to develop over western Cuba by Monday night, with winds likely reaching tropical storm status by Monday morning. The tropical storm warning for Pinar del Rio has been changed by the Cuban authorities to a hurricane warning.

The hurricane center advised fast completion of the necessary preparations to safeguard people and property.

The Tampa Bay region is expected to have a storm surge that is 4–7 feet higher than usual tide levels as the storm moves in. The Florida Big Bend region is predicted to see the biggest storm surge, with water levels reaching up to 10 feet above mean tide.

According to the storm center, typically dry regions close to the coast may get inundated as rising seas travel inland from the beach.

As Tropical Storm Idalia dumps heavy rain from Tuesday into Wednesday, ranging from 3 to 6 inches with isolated amounts up to 10 inches, areas of the west coast of Florida, the Florida Panhandle, and southern Georgia are also predicted to see urban flooding and flash floods.

Tropical Storm

Flash floods may also occur in some of the Carolinas on Wednesday and Thursday due to the heavy rain.

Additionally, 3 to 6 inches of rain, with sporadic quantities up to 10 inches, may fall in western Cuba.

Idalia preparations in Florida

As the state prepares for Idalia’s arrival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis advised Floridians to “just heed the warnings of your local officials” on Sunday.

Beginning at 7 a.m. ET on Monday, “our emergency operations center here in Tallahassee will go to a Level 1, 24-hour around the clock,” DeSantis stated.

According to DeSantis, 1,100 members of the National Guard have been summoned along with high-water vehicles and aircraft for rescue and recovery operations. 300 officers from the Florida Highway Patrol are also available for deployment.

The governor stated that power firms will begin staging staff on Monday.

The governor advised citizens to be prepared for power disruptions if they were in the storm’s path.

Prior to potential effects from Idalia, Hillsborough County, where the city of Tampa is situated, has declared a local emergency.

Tropical Storm

Citrus County, whose schools will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday and operate on a half-day schedule on Monday, also announced a local state of emergency on Sunday.

Residents living in campers, recreational vehicles, tents, or other structures that cannot withstand the winds of a tropical storm, as well as those who are living along the west side of U.S. Highway 19, are advised to voluntarily evacuate, according to Citrus County.

Idalia will also force the Hernando County Schools to be closed from Monday through Wednesday, according to the Florida Department of Education.

On Sunday, voluntary evacuation orders were issued for a few Hernando County neighborhoods. The county stated in a statement on Facebook on Sunday that “all residents living in coastal and low-lying areas, as well as manufactured homes county-wide, are included.”

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