Idalia growing toward potential Category 3 hurricane, no change in direction

by | Aug 28, 2023

  • The current trajectory of Tropical Storm Idalia suggests it is nearing Florida’s Gulf Coast and could make landfall by Wednesday.
  • Multiple warnings and watches have been issued for various regions, including a Storm Surge Warning for Tampa Bay.
  • The storm carries the potential for major hazards, including life-threatening storm surges, dangerous winds, and the possibility of tornadoes starting Tuesday.

Tropical Storm Idalia, currently on course toward the western tip of Cuba, is showing signs of intensification according to the National Hurricane Center’s latest update. As it gains power, the storm is now expected to pose significant threats, including life-threatening storm surges and dangerous winds, to parts of Florida. The National Hurrican Center also issued a hurricane warning from Longboat Key to the south of Tampa, stretching northward to the Ochlockonee River just southwest of Tallahassee in the Panhandle.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said during his morning briefing that the storm is expected to reach Category 3 before making landfall as a major hurricane.

As of 2:00 PM EDT, Idalia was located about 50 miles south-southwest of the western tip of Cuba and roughly 280 miles south-southwest of the Dry Tortugas. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and is moving north at 8 mph. Its minimum central pressure is recorded at 987 mb. Idalia is forecasted to pass near or over western Cuba tonight, move over the extreme southeastern Gulf of Mexico by early Tuesday, and is likely to make landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast by Wednesday.

In addition to the hurricane warning, a storm surge warning remains in effect for areas from Englewood northward to the Ochlockonee River, which includes Tampa Bay.

Along with the intensifying winds, the combination of a dangerous storm surge and tidal action could cause severe flooding in coastal regions. Specifically, waters may rise up to 7-11 feet above ground level in areas like Aucilla River, FL to Chassahowitzka, FL. The storm is also expected to produce heavy rainfall that may lead to flash and urban flooding, along with a few tornadoes that will be possible starting Tuesday along the west-central Florida coast.

Local authorities are urging residents to complete their preparations to protect life and property as the storm approaches. The next complete advisory from the National Hurricane Center is expected at 5:00 PM EDT today.


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