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Tropical Storm Idalia forecasted to hit Florida as a major hurricane: Latest updates

Tropical Storm Idalia forecasted to hit Florida as a major hurricane: Latest updates

Tropical Storm Idalia is forecast to hit Florida by Wednesday morning after intensifying into a category 3 hurricane, with fears that the storm could bring “life-threatening” surges and flooding.

The storm is now just 230 miles or 370km southwest of the Dry Tortugas National Park of Florida, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center.

It is packing maximum sustained winds of 70mph or 110km/h currently, which can grow to over 111mph as the storm intensifies.

Forecasters said they expected Idalia to become a hurricane on Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico and then curve northeast toward the west coast of Florida.

A state of emergency was issued in 46 counties, a broad swath that stretches across the northern half of the state from the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic Coast, as residents loaded up on sandbags and evacuated from homes in low-lying areas along the Gulf Coast.

“You should be wrapping up your preparation for Tropical Storm Idalia tonight and Tues morning at the latest,” NHC said.

Key Points

  • Idalia to strengthen into category 3 'major hurricane'

  • Tracking Idalia: Where is tropical storm going to hit after turning into hurricane

  • Large parts of western coast of Florida at risk of seawater surge, experts say

  • Lightning flashes as Tropical Storm Idalia forecast to hit Florida

  • When and where will Idalia hit?

National Hurricane Center gives update on Idalia

11:55 , Rachel Sharp

“Here are the Key Messages for Hurricane Idalia for the Tuesday am advisory. #Idalia is expected to intensify into an extremely dangerous major hurricane before landfall along the west coast or Big Bend region of Florida. More: http://hurricanes.gov,” the agency tweeted.

WATCH: Florida braces for Idalia to make landfall

11:20 , Rachel Sharp

Map of Hillsborough County evacuation zones

11:00 , Rachel Sharp

Hillsborough County Evacuation Zones (Hillsborough County)
Hillsborough County Evacuation Zones (Hillsborough County)

Idalia has now strengthened to hurricane

10:17 , Rachel Sharp

Tropical Storm Idalia has now strengthened into a hurricane off the coast of Cuba as it continues to chart a path towards Florida, where hundreds of residents have been ordered to evacuate their homes.

The National Hurricane Center announced at around 5am ET on Tuesday that Idalia is now a hurricane and is expected to rapidly intensify into an extremely dangerous major hurricane before making landfall on Wednesday.

After charting a path over the Gulf of Mexico, the storm is expected to curve northeast toward the west coast of Florida.

Florida officials warn of gas contamination as Idalia approaches

09:45 , Stuti Mishra

Florida officials are warning drivers of potential fuel contamination at dozens of gas stations on the Gulf Coast as residents fill their tanks bracing for the landfall of Tropical Storm Idalia.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said late on Sunday that gasoline purchased after 10am Saturday at some Citgo-supplied stations had a strong likelihood of being contaminated with diesel fuel. Citgo identified 29 affected stations — sold at chains like 7-Eleven, BJ’s Wholesale and other convenience stores — in cities including Tampa, Fort Myers, Sarasota and more.

The contamination was caused by “human error,” the department said.

Read more:

Florida officials warn of gas contamination as Tropical Storm Idalia approaches

Floodwaters swamp fishing villages, thousands evacuate as Idalia battered Cuba

09:00 , The Associated Press

Cubans rushed to evacuate coastal towns, batten down homes and tie down fishing boats as Idalia lingered for hours on Monday near the western end of the Caribbean island nation.

By mid-afternoon, chocolate brown floodwaters had swamped the small fishing village of Guan, one hour's drive south of Havana.

Decades-old buses missing floorboards and windows carried women and children to higher ground as winds howled, rattling tin roofs and slamming fishing boats tucked in the mangroves.

"We've had two days of rain already," said Yadira Alvarez, 34, as she readied for evacuation with her five children. "We try to prepare, but no matter what we do everything will be soaked."

Stormwater had already swelled to near knee height inside her home, she said.

Farther to the west, more intense winds closer to the storm centre pounded the tobacco-rich province of Pinar del Rio, home to the raw material for some of the world's finest Cuban cigars.

Authorities had evacuated tens of thousands of people from that province as well as neighbouring Artemisa, while squalls of heavy rain doused the Cuban capital of Havana.

A man carries a woman on his back as he wades through the water in a flooded area of Batabano, Mayabeque Province, Cuba (AFP/Getty)
A man carries a woman on his back as he wades through the water in a flooded area of Batabano, Mayabeque Province, Cuba (AFP/Getty)

Idalia 'could become a hurricane at any time', NHC says

08:30 , Stuti Mishra

Tropical Storm Idalia is strengthening now as it is in the process of forming an eye and "could become a hurricane at any time", the National Hurricane Center said in its update.

The storm is passing through western Cuba and was last spotted 190miles (315km) from Dry Tortugas. It is packing maximum sustained winds of 70mph (110kmh).

From here on, the storm is forecast to go through a rapid intensification as it become a "major" category 3 hurricane before making landfall in Florida on Wednesday.

Radar imagery shows Idalia forming eye

08:00 , Stuti Mishra

Idalia may soon go through a phase of "quick intensification", according to experts, as the radar imagery of the tropical storm shows it forming an inner core structure – more commonly known as an eye.

"Radar imagery over the past 2 hours shows the first signs of #Idalia forming an inner core structure, with banding wrapping around a greater fraction of the centre (red dot)," meteorologist Dr Levi Cowan wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

A storm forms an eye as it intensifies in warm waters. So far Idalia has struggled to form this inner core, but as it happens, the storm will go through a robust and rapid intensification.

"If this structure persists overnight, a phase of quick intensification may be about to begin," Dr Cowan wrote.

Tropical Storm Idalia inches closer to Florida

07:30 , Stuti Mishra

Idalia’s is inching closer to Florida, with its distance from Dry Tortugas reduced to just 190miles or 315 kilometres, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm, which is set to become a major hurricane before it makes landfall, is packing maximum sustained winds of 70mph or 110kmh.

Satellite video shows Idalia and Franklin swirling in Atlantic

07:10 , Stuti Mishra

Two storms, Idalia and Franklin, swirling in the Atlantic Ocean were captured in satellite imagery, posted by the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA).

“Incredible view of sunlight fading on Hurricane Franklin and Tropical Storm Idalia,” CIRA wrote on X, previously known as Twitter.

Tropical Storm Franklin strengthens into first major hurricane of 2023 Atlantic season

06:50 , Stuti Mishra

Both Hurricane Franklin and Tropical Storm Idalia are intensifying as the Atlantic hurricane season is beginning.

Idalia was off the coast of Cuba on Monday, potentially on a path to strike the southern US as a major hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Franklin has been gaining in power and grew into the first major hurricane of the Atlantic season, increasing in strength overnight.

Here’s everything you need to know about Tropical Storm Franklin and its path:

Tropical Storm Franklin strengthens into a hurricane

Florida Gators change travel plans with Idalia approaching

06:27 , Stuti Mishra

College football team Florida Gators are changing their travel plans for the season opener at No. 14 Utah on Thursday night, hoping to avoid Tropical Storm Idalia.

A team spokesman said on Monday that the Gators will fly to Dallas on Tuesday, practise and spend the night there, and then travel to Salt Lake City on Wednesday. Coach Billy Napier's team had initially planned to fly from Gainesville to Utah on Wednesday.

Read more:

Florida football team alters its travel plans with Tropical Storm Idalia approaching the state

Thousands evacuated in Cuba as Idalia hits

06:00 , Stuti Mishra

Idalia has now passed Cuba and brought with it heavy rain, especially in the westernmost part of the island, with around 8,000 people evacuated, according to state-run TV.

The tobacco-producing province of Pinar del Rio, which is still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian almost a year ago, was worst affected.

Authorities in the province issued a state of alert as residents were moved to friends' and relatives' homes as the Cuyaguateje river was monitored for possible flooding.

As much as 10cm (4 inches) of rain fell in Cuba on Sunday, meteorological stations reported yesterday. Figures for Monday are yet to be released.

'You should be wrapping up your preparation tonight': Florida gears up for Idalia amid widespread state of emergency

05:40 , Stuti Mishra

Florida residents loaded up on sandbags and evacuated from homes in low-lying areas along the Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Idalia intensified on Monday and forecasters predicted it would hit in days as a major hurricane with potentially life-threatening storm surges.

"You should be wrapping up your preparation for Tropical Storm Idalia tonight and Tues morning at the latest," the National Weather Service in Tampa Bay said on Monday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in 46 counties, a broad swath that stretches across the northern half of the state from the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic Coast.

The state has mobilised 1,100 National Guard members, who have 2,400 high-water vehicles and 12 aircraft at their disposal for rescue and recovery efforts.

Mr DeSantis said the Florida Department of Transportation would waive tolls on highways in the Tampa area and the Big Bend starting at 4am on Tuesday to help ease any burden on people in the path of the storm.

Members of the Tampa, Florida Parks and Recreation Department help residents with sandbags (AP)
Members of the Tampa, Florida Parks and Recreation Department help residents with sandbags (AP)

Idalia just 370km away from Florida now

05:20 , Stuti Mishra

Tropical storm Idalia is now just 230 miles (370km) southwest of the Dry Tortugas National Park of Florida, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center.

Idalia is forecast to become a category 3 hurricane before it reaches the Florida coast.

The storm is packing maximum sustained winds of 70mph or 110km/h currently, with forecasts that these windspeeds could rise to over 111mph as the storm intensifies.

Idalia is expected to start affecting Florida with hurricane-force winds as soon as late Tuesday and arrive on the coast by Wednesday.

It is the first storm to hit Florida this hurricane season and a potentially big blow to the state, which is also dealing with lingering damage from last year's Hurricane Ian.

Satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show tropical Storm Idalia moves between Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, left, and Cuba, right (NOAA via AP)
Satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show tropical Storm Idalia moves between Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, left, and Cuba, right (NOAA via AP)

What is storm surge, and how much will Storm Idalia bring?

04:59 , Graig Graziosi

The NWS has warned that Idalia may cause “life threatening” storm surges to western Florida.

Storm surge is caused by strong winds from weather systems like tropical storms and hurricanes pushing ocean water inland. Not only can the surge waters flood coastal areas, they can also overflow coastal rivers and wetlands, causing massive flooding in the surrounding regions.

Forecasters believe that Idalia may bring up to 11 feet of storm surge to areas of the western Florida coast.

Storm surges can be exceptionally deadly and disruptive, completely inundating roadways and leaving residents who don’t evacuate trapped on the roofs of their homes, assuming it doesn’t uproot the house completely.

White House says FEMA has briefed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on emergency preparations

04:00 , Graig Graziosi

The White House revealed details of a call between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the federal government today as state and federal officials prepare for Storm Idalia to make landfall on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told Mr DeSantis that its National Response Coordinaton Centre has been “fully activated” to provide support and assistance.

Two Incident Management Teams have been deployed to Tallahassee, and Urban Search and Rescue teams have been activated and will be ready as of this evening to respond to emergencies, according to the memo.

FEMA said that it has a staging team at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama and a warehouse in Atlanta stocked with emergency supplies for distribution in Florida following the storm.

Manatee County officials say they’re preparing for a ‘direct hit’ from Storm Idalia

03:00 , Graig Graziosi

Manatee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Kevin Van Ostenbridge told residents that officials were preparing for a “direct hit” by Storm Idalia when it makes landfall as a likely Category 3 hurricane on Wednesday.

Mr Van Ostenbridge expleind that should the hurricane continue on its current course, it would make landfall north of Manatee County, but noted that if it were to take a right turn — which it may — it would be on a direct path to the county.

He said officials were preparing for it to hit the county directly just in case it takes a turn.

Florida officials warn of gas contamination as Tropical Storm Idalia approaches

02:00 , Graig Graziosi

Florida officials are warning drivers of potential fuel contamination at dozens of gas stations on the Gulf Coast as residents brace for the landfall later this week of Tropical Storm Idalia.

On Monday, Idalia was near the coast of Cuba and on a potential track to come ashore as a hurricane in the southern U.S. in the coming days, the National Hurricane Center said.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said late Sunday that gasoline purchased after 10 a.m. Saturday at some Citgo-supplied stations had a strong likelihood of being contaminated with diesel fuel. Citgo identified 29 affected stations — sold at chains like 7-Eleven, BJ’s Wholesale and other convenience stores — in cities including Tampa, Fort Myers, Sarasota and more.

READ MORE:

Florida officials warn of gas contamination as Tropical Storm Idalia approaches

Tampa International Airport announces closure ahead of Tropical Storm Idalia

01:00 , Graig Graziosi

The Tampa International Airport has announced it will close on Tuesday and presumably remain closed through Wednesday, when Tropical Storm Idalia is expected to make landfall in Florida as a Category 3 hurricane.

The airport will close tomorrow at 12:01am EST, officials said in a news release published on Monday.

The airport intends to remain closed until it can asses any damage caused by the hurricane, but officials anticipate reopening on Thursday, according to the press statement.

Closing the airport allows staff to prepare the grounds and facility for the storm’s arrival.

Officials also noted that the airport is not a shelter.

Ron DeSantis holds briefing as Tropical Storm Idalia threatens Florida

Tuesday 29 August 2023 00:00 , Graig Graziosi

Watch live as Ron DeSantis holds a news briefing on Monday, 28 August, as Tropical Storm Idalia develops in the Gulf of Mexico, potentially threatening Florida.

The storm is expected to hit the state by Tuesday or Wednesday morning after intensifying into a category 3 hurricane, the National Hurrican Center (NHC) said.

There are fears that the storm could bring “life-threatening” surges and flooding.

As of Monday, Idalia packed maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kmh).

The Florida governor has asked residents to “have a plan and a stocked supply kit” as a state of emergency was declared for half of the state’s counties.

READ MORE:

Watch: Ron DeSantis holds briefing as Tropical Storm Idalia threatens Florida

Hurricane expert believes Tropical Storm Idalia could whip into storm with more than 100mph winds

Monday 28 August 2023 23:00 , Graig Graziosi

Dr Levi Cowan, a senior scientist at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, said Monday that he believes Tropical Storm Idalia could eventually produce more than 100mph winds when it reaches its full strength.

He noted in a post on X/Twitter that the storm still hadn’t quite found its core, but estimated that its primary growth period would occur once it reahces the Gulf of Mexico near Florida, meaning it still have plenty of time to ramp up in strength.

Florida issues state of emergency for half its counties

Monday 28 August 2023 22:00 , Graig Graziosi

A state of emergency was issued for half of Florida counties on Saturday ahead of a potential hurricane that is on track to hit the state.

“I’ve signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency for 33 counties in preparation...,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Read more:

Florida issues state of emergency as Tropical Storm Idalia heads for state

Pinellas County orders mandatory evacuation for numerous residents

Monday 28 August 2023 21:41 , Graig Graziosi

Pinellas County has issued a mandatory evacuation order for Zone A, a region of the county that includes the regions northwest of St Peterburg, Florida.

The evacuation order if effective as of Monday night at 7pm.

The order to evacuate includes mandatory evacuation for all mobile home owners in the affected area.

The county said that a shelter would open Monday at 7pm at John Hopkins Middle School, and that special needs transportation would begin on Tuesday morning at 7am.

Satellite image shows Hurricane Franklin and Tropical Storm Idalia churning off the coasts of Florida

Monday 28 August 2023 21:21 , Graig Graziosi

Satellite imagery captured both Hurricane Franklin and Tropical Storm Idalia churning off the eastern and western coasts of Florida, respectively.

While Hurricane Franklin is not expected to hit Florida, Tropical Storm Idalia is expected to make landfall on the state’s western coast on Wednesday, likely as a Category 3 hurricane.

Watch below:

Florida officials ask residents to report price gouging ahead of Storm Idalia’s landfall

Monday 28 August 2023 21:01 , Graig Graziosi

Florida officials have asked resident to report price gouging to the state’s hotline in the days before Storm Idalia is expected to reach the state’s western coast as a Category 3 hurricane.

The state’s attorney general, Ashley Moody, said that the state’s price gouging laws went into effect when Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in 46 counties on Monday.

“If you see, whether its gas, or water, or lumber at an egregious price that you would not see on average, please let us know,” she said.

Ms Moody noted that Florida has seen a population surge in recent years and reminded residents that there are likely to be many newcomers experiencing and preparing for a major hurricane for the first time, and requested that residents help their neighbours.

What is storm surge, and how much will Storm Idalia bring?

Monday 28 August 2023 20:41 , Graig Graziosi

The NWS has warned that Idalia may cause “life threatening” storm surges to western Florida.

Storm surge is caused by strong winds from weather systems like tropical storms and hurricanes pushing ocean water inland. Not only can the surge waters flood coastal areas, they can also overflow coastal rivers and wetlands, causing massive flooding in the surrounding regions.

Forecasters believe that Idalia may bring up to 11 feet of storm surge to areas of the western Florida coast.

Storm surges can be exceptionally deadly and disruptive, completely inundating roadways and leaving residents who don’t evacuate trapped on the roofs of their homes, assuming it doesn’t uproot the house completely.

White House says FEMA has briefed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on emergency preparations

Monday 28 August 2023 20:21 , Graig Graziosi

The White House revealed details of a call between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the federal government today as state and federal officials prepare for Storm Idalia to make landfall on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told Mr DeSantis that its National Response Coordinaton Centre has been “fully activated” to provide support and assistance.

Two Incident Management Teams have been deployed to Tallahassee, and Urban Search and Rescue teams have been activated and will be ready as of this evening to respond to emergencies, according to the memo.

FEMA said that it has a staging team at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama and a warehouse in Atlanta stocked with emergency supplies for distribution in Florida following the storm.

Manatee County officials say they’re preparing for a ‘direct hit’ from Storm Idalia

Monday 28 August 2023 20:04 , Graig Graziosi

Manatee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Kevin Van Ostenbridge told residents that officials were preparing for a “direct hit” by Storm Idalia when it makes landfall as a likely Category 3 hurricane on Wednesday.

Mr Van Ostenbridge expleind that should the hurricane continue on its current course, it would make landfall north of Manatee County, but noted that if it were to take a right turn — which it may — it would be on a direct path to the county.

He said officials were preparing for it to hit the county directly just in case it takes a turn.

Storm Idalia’s winds increase to 70mph — nearly a Category 1 hurricane — as it nears western tip of Cuba

Monday 28 August 2023 19:45 , Graig Graziosi

The National Hurriance Centre is reporting that tropical storm Idalia’s wind speeds have increased to 70mph.

The storm is making its way past Cuba, after which it will enter the Gulf of Mexico, where it is expected to gain strength before making landfall in western Florida on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane.

A Tropical Storm typically becomes a Category 1 hurricane when its wind speeds reach between 74 and 95mph.

The storm is currently moving approximately 8mph .

Tropical Storm Franklin strengthens into first major hurricane of 2023 Atlantic season

Monday 28 August 2023 19:29 , Graig Graziosi

Tropical Storm Franklin has strengthened into a hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) on Saturday.

As of 11am Eastern time, Hurricane Franklin was about 315 miles east-northeast of Grand Turk Island, the capital island of the Turks and Caicos, and 620 miles south of Bermuda, forecasters said.

The hurricane’s winds had increased up to 75 mph, and NHC said that is had the potential to become a major hurricane by early next week - marking the first of the 2023 Atlantic season.

READ MORE:

Tropical Storm Franklin strengthens into a hurricane

MacDill Air Force base in Tampa has issued mandatory evacuation

Monday 28 August 2023 19:15 , Graig Graziosi

The MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa has issued a mandatory evacuation for all non-critical staff.

“A mandatory base-wide evacuation order has been issued to be completed by 10:00am Tues. Aug. 29 for non-mission essential individuals and dependents and for those who reside in Evac Zone A in the following counties: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Pasco and Hernando.”

Florida officials warn of gas contamination as Tropical Storm Idalia approaches

Monday 28 August 2023 18:55 , Graig Graziosi

Florida officials are warning drivers of potential fuel contamination at dozens of gas stations on the Gulf Coast as residents brace for the landfall later this week of Tropical Storm Idalia.

On Monday, Idalia was near the coast of Cuba and on a potential track to come ashore as a hurricane in the southern U.S. in the coming days, the National Hurricane Center said.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said late Sunday that gasoline purchased after 10 a.m. Saturday at some Citgo-supplied stations had a strong likelihood of being contaminated with diesel fuel. Citgo identified 29 affected stations — sold at chains like 7-Eleven, BJ’s Wholesale and other convenience stores — in cities including Tampa, Fort Myers, Sarasota and more.

READ MORE:

Florida officials warn of gas contamination as Tropical Storm Idalia approaches

Georgia governor opens operations center to coordinate during Storm Idalia

Monday 28 August 2023 18:35 , Graig Graziosi

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has opened the State Operations Center to help coordinate response activities in anticipation of Storm Idalia, which is expected to make landfall in Florida on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane. The governor announced in a statement that the center — used by federal, state and local authorities as well as volunteer organisations— will monitor the storm’s progress and oversee response efforts in its wake.

“Thanks to our response partners on both the state and local levels, Georgia will be prepared for whatever Idalia will bring,” Mr Kemp said in the announcement.

He noted that the storm will likely have weakened by the time it enters Georgia, but wanted to be prepared for nonetheless.

US Embassy in Cuba closes as Tropical Storm Idalia nears

Monday 28 August 2023 18:15 , Graig Graziosi

The US Embassy in Cuba has closed its doors and will remain closed through Tuesday while Tropical Storm Idalia travels north toward the west coast of Florida.

“Tropical Storm Idalia is projected to develop into a Hurricane and pass over the western part of Cuba beginning today. This storm is expected to bring significant rainfall and wind that may result in life-threatening flooding, flash flooding, and storm surge,” embassy officials said in a statement. “Countrywide impacts are expected but the western provinces of Cuba are likely to feel more significant effects.”

The embassy announced its closure in a travel alert to Americans in Cuba, and advised them to prepare for possible disruptions to services like water and food availability due to the storm.

“U.S. citizens are advised to avoid beaches and coast lines and take shelter in safe locations away from low-lying areas and monitor weather updates,” the alert said. “It is advised to maintain several days of clean drinking water and food and make contact before, during, and after the storm with family members and loved ones.”

The embassy will close at 3pm on Monday, with officials noting that it may extend the closure if necessary.

Tampa International Airport announces closure ahead of Tropical Storm Idalia

Monday 28 August 2023 17:30 , Graig Graziosi

The Tampa International Airport has announced it will close on Tuesday and presumably remain closed through Wednesday, when Tropical Storm Idalia is expected to make landfall in Florida as a Category 3 hurricane.

The airport will close tomorrow at 12:01am EST, officials said in a news release published on Monday.

The airport intends to remain closed until it can asses any damage caused by the hurricane, but officials anticipate reopening on Thursday, according to the press statement.

Closing the airport allows staff to prepare the grounds and facility for the storm’s arrival.

Officials also noted that the airport is not a shelter.

Florida officials begin ordering evacuations, opening shelters

Monday 28 August 2023 17:01 , Graig Graziosi

Communities on Florida’s west coast are being ordered to evacuate as Tropical Storm Idalia barrels north toward the state.

The storm is expected to strengthen as it hits the Gulf of Mexico, and forecasters believe it will make landfall in Florida as a Category 3 hurricane.

Some Tampa-area residents, including individuals living in parts of Manatee and Pasco counties, have been ordered to evacuate.

Officials in Manatee County, which is south of Tampa, said that the regions transit services would continue until wind speeds reached 45mph, after which busses will cease.

North of Tampa in Hernando County, mandatory evacuations will go into effect on Tuesday morning, while voluntary evacuations are ongoing. The county is opening its hurricane shelters today at noon.

A state of emergency has been declared for Pinellas County, to the city’s west as it prepares to open its shelters.

National Weather Service issues ‘life-threatening' storm surge warnings ahead of Storm Idalia

Monday 28 August 2023 16:34 , Graig Graziosi

The National Weather Service has issued storm surge warnings for western Florida in the wake of Storm Idalia, which is expected to make landfall in the Sunshine State on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane.

The NWS said that “life-threatening” storm surges along affected parts of Florida’s Gulf coast were likely. Those regions include the cities of Tampa as well as Big Bend.

Inundation from 7 to 11 feet is expected between the Chassahowitzka and Aucilla Rivers, and urban flash flooding is likely.

Monday 28 August 2023 16:11 , Graig Graziosi

Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for the state of Florida on Monday after speaking with its governor, Ron DeSantis.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has already deployed personnel and “assets” to Florida ahead of Storm Idalia. “FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center has also been fully activated to support any requests for federal assistance,” the White House said in a statement

Joe Biden and Ron DeSantis, potential 2024 rivals, prepare for hurricane’s arrival in Florida

Monday 28 August 2023 15:10 , Graig Graziosi

Joe Biden and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reportedly spoke this morning to discuss Tropical Storm Idalia and its likely landfall in western Florida.

Mr Biden reportedly told the governor that “Florida will have his full support as they prepare for Idalia and its aftermath,” and said he was committed to providing continual assistance to the city of Jacksonville following a mass shooting there on Saturday.

Mr DeSantis is hoping to challenge Mr Biden in the 2024 presidential election, though the Republican governor is still trailing behind the party’s frontrunner, Donald Trump, by a significant margin.

Ron DeSantis holds briefing as Tropical Storm Idalia threatens Florida

Monday 28 August 2023 15:00 , Graig Graziosi

Watch live as Ron DeSantis holds a news briefing on Monday, 28 August, as Tropical Storm Idalia develops in the Gulf of Mexico, potentially threatening Florida.

The storm is expected to hit the state by Tuesday or Wednesday morning after intensifying into a category 3 hurricane, the National Hurrican Center (NHC) said.

There are fears that the storm could bring “life-threatening” surges and flooding.

As of Monday, Idalia packed maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kmh).

The Florida governor has asked residents to “have a plan and a stocked supply kit” as a state of emergency was declared for half of the state’s counties.READ MORE:

Live: Ron DeSantis holds briefing as Tropical Storm Idalia threatens Florida

Hurricane expert believes Tropical Storm Idalia could whip into storm with more than 100mph winds

Monday 28 August 2023 14:36 , Graig Graziosi

Dr Levi Cowan, a senior scientist at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, said Monday that he believes Tropical Storm Idalia could eventually produce more than 100mph winds when it reaches its full strength.

He noted in a post on X/Twitter that the storm still hadn’t quite found its core, but estimated that its primary growth period would occur once it reahces the Gulf of Mexico near Florida, meaning it still have plenty of time to ramp up in strength.

Florida issues state of emergency for half its counties

Monday 28 August 2023 14:00 , Stuti Mishra

A state of emergency was issued for half of Florida counties on Saturday ahead of a potential hurricane that is on track to hit the state.

“I’ve signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency for 33 counties in preparation...,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Read more:

Florida issues state of emergency as Tropical Storm Idalia heads for state

When and where will Idalia hit?

Monday 28 August 2023 13:10 , Stuti Mishra

Tropical storm Idalia is forecast to reach Gulf of Florida by Tuesday as a category 3 "major" hurricane with a mix of heavy rains, high winds and damaging storm surge.

Along a vast stretch of Florida's west coast, up to 11 feet (3.4 meters) of ocean water could surge on shore, raising fears of destructive flooding.

Idalia is expected to intensify into a hurricane today and make landfall by Wednesday morning near the Big Bend of Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center, said.

The storm is currently about 125 miles off the western tip of Cuba, whipping up maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, the hurricane center said in a 5am update.

Tropical Storm Idalia (NWS)
Tropical Storm Idalia (NWS)

Florida mobilises 1,100 national guards, asks people to keep gas tanks at least half-full

Monday 28 August 2023 12:35 , Stuti Mishra

Florida emergency officials on Sunday urged residents to keep their vehicle gas tanks at least half-full in case they need to evacuate.

"This will ensure you can evacuate tens of miles inland to a safe location should the need arise," the Florida Division of Emergency Management said on social media.

Florida has mobilised 1,100 National Guard members, and "they have at their disposal 2,400 high-water vehicles, as well as 12 aircraft that can be used for rescue and recovery efforts," said Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor who is a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination.

"If you are in the path of this storm, you should expect power outages," he added. "So please prepare for that, particularly if this storm ends up coming in the Tallahassee region, there's a lot trees that are going to get knocked down, the power lines are going to get knocked down - that is just going to happen, so just be prepared for that and be able to do what you need to do."

Thirty-three Florida counties are under a state of emergency, the state emergency management agency said.

Idalia to bring 'intense torrential rains' to Mexico

Monday 28 August 2023 12:04 , Stuti Mishra

Mexico's National Meteorological Service on Sunday warned of intense torrential rains showering the Yucatan Peninsula, with winds as fast as 55 mph (89 kph).

It said the storm could cause anything from powerful waves to flooding in southern Mexico, mainly around coastal cities in the Yucatan and Quintana Roo states. It asked citizens to stay alert.

Idalia storm surge map

Monday 28 August 2023 11:30 , Stuti Mishra

This map from the National Hurricane Center shows which areas could see high sea waves as tropical storm Idalia barrels towards Florida, where it is forecast to become a category 3 “major” hurricane.

In some areas marked in red, the NHC forecast shows storm surges could be over 7 feet high. While others, including the Tampa Bay area, could see a surge between 4-7 feet.

Map from National Hurricane Centre shows forecast for peak storm surge from tropical storm Idalia (National Hurricane Center)
Map from National Hurricane Centre shows forecast for peak storm surge from tropical storm Idalia (National Hurricane Center)

Idalia to strengthen into category 3 'major hurricane'

Monday 28 August 2023 11:02 , Stuti Mishra

Tropical storm Idalia is now forecast to become a category 3 "major hurricane" before it reaches the Gulf of Florida, the National Hurricane Center has said in its latest advisory.

The storm was earlier expected to intensify to category 2 on Tuesday as it inches closer to land, but the fact it has lingered over warmer waters near the coast has made the storm stronger.

The risk "continues to increase for life-threatening storm surge and dangerous hurricane force winds", the NHC said in its 5am advisory.

DeSantis leaves campaign trail and returns to Florida

Monday 28 August 2023 10:30 , Stuti Mishra

A day after appearing in Iowa, governor Ron DeSantis was back in the state capital of Tallahassee on Sunday for a news conference on Tropical Storm Idalia. He urged Floridians to heed the advice of emergency managers.

Mr DeSantis said in a statement that he issued his executive order “out of an abundance of caution to ensure that the Florida Division of Emergency Management can begin staging resources and Floridians have plenty of time to prepare their families for a storm next week.”

“I encourage Floridians to have a plan in place and ensure that their hurricane supply kit is stocked," he said.

Forecast models have the storm curving to the northeast toward Florida, coming ashore along the Gulf coast north of Tampa near the Big Bend area and then heading diagonally across the state to emerge again in the Atlantic Ocean near southeast Georgia.

Idalia continues to strengthen

Monday 28 August 2023 10:03 , Stuti Mishra

Meteorologists and weather experts tracking tropical storm Idalia have raised alarms over how quickly the storm is intensifying as it is forecast to become a category 2 hurricane when it reaches the US coast.

Extreme weather expert Colin McCarthy called it “ominous signs for Florida” as Idalia spends “much more time over the hot waters of the Caribbean than initially anticipated.”

“@NHC_Atlantic is currently forecasting landfall as a Category 2 hurricane near Cedar Key, but hurricane models continue to suggest a major hurricane could be possible at landfall,” Mr McCarthy wrote.

'If you are asked to evacuate, do so': Experts say forecast for storm surge in Florida increases

Monday 28 August 2023 09:31 , Stuti Mishra

Idalia is expected to bring storm surges up to seven feet high in the Tampa Bay area when it reaches the coast of Florida, experts warn, adding that such high waves can “inundate numerous low-lying areas in the region”.

“The forecast for #stormsurge continues to increase,” writes Craig Ceecee, a meteorologist.

“Notice that in the Tampa Bay area, 4 to 7 feet is now the forecast. That will inundate numerous low-lying areas in the region.”

“If you are asked to evacuate, do so. If you can’t due to money or vehicle, call 211 for help.”