In anticipation of Hurricane Idalia’s expected Wednesday landfall, Florida has issued a state of emergency in 46 of the state’s 67 counties. Early Tuesday morning, Idalia became a Category 1 hurricane as it swept across Cuba. By the time it reaches the western coast of Florida, the storm surge from Idalia is projected to pose a danger to human life. About 370 miles south-southwest of Tampa, Florida, and 85 miles north of Cuba’s western point is where the hurricane is making landfall. At this time, it is traveling 14 mph to the north.
On Tuesday morning, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a news conference with other state leaders. The Big Bend region of Florida is bracing for an intense hurricane tomorrow morning. A hurricane warning has been issued by the National Hurricane Center for the Gulf Coast from Sarasota County to Franklin County in the Panhandle.
Florida has sent in many National Guard personnel, 2,400 high-water vehicles, and 12 aircraft. People in low-lying communities along Florida’s Gulf Coast are stocking up on sandbags, bringing in patio furniture, and evacuating in anticipation of the storm surge. Some people are getting generators ready for deployment in case of blackouts.
Forecasts indicate that Idalia, packing hurricane-force winds, will land in Florida late Tuesday or early Wednesday. The first hurricane of the season may do a lot of damage to a state still recovering from Hurricane Ian. When a storm of this magnitude approaches Florida, it may cause widespread flooding along the state’s western coast. Those living in the counties of Pasco and Levy, north of Tampa, have been ordered to evacuate.
Schools in many Gulf Coast states have already declared cancellations for Tuesday and Wednesday, and Eckerd College in St. Petersburg has told its students they must leave campus by Monday night.
As a result of abnormally high water temperatures, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration anticipates a more active hurricane season in 2023. Peak months are often August and September, although the season continues until the end of November.