Tropical Storm Idalia Update: Florida Declares State of Emergency as Storm Expected to Reach Category 2 Hurricane Status with 100mph Winds and 11ft Storm Surges
Florida has taken the precautionary step of declaring a state of emergency in over 30 counties as Tropical Storm Idalia is projected to intensify into a Category 2 hurricane and make landfall on Wednesday. The storm’s potential impact includes warnings of severe storm surges, potential landslides, and widespread power outages. Forecasts indicate that Idalia is likely to develop into a hurricane by Tuesday while in the Gulf of Mexico, then veer northeastward towards Florida’s west coast, where it could strike with wind speeds of up to 100mph. Concerns are heightened as a significant coastal stretch might experience surges of ocean water up to 11 feet, raising the risk of destructive flooding.
Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has taken action to address the situation by declaring a state of emergency for the majority of the state’s Gulf coast. This encompasses regions from Fort Myers in the southwest to Panama City in the Panhandle. The declaration covers 33 of the state’s 67 counties. The governor’s decision is motivated by the storm’s potential to gain strength due to warm Gulf waters.
Forecast models currently indicate a 70 percent likelihood of the system evolving into a tropical storm by Monday, with a 90 percent chance overall. The storm is expected to be designated ‘Idalia’ unless another tropical storm develops prior to its formation.
Fortunately, the forecasted path of the storm does not intersect with the areas in southwest Florida that were affected by Hurricane Ian last year. In preparation for the storm, Governor DeSantis has urged residents to have an emergency plan in place and ensure their hurricane supply kits are well-stocked. It’s also advised to keep vehicle gas tanks at least half-full for potential evacuation purposes.
To address the situation, Florida has activated 1,100 National Guard members and equipped them with resources including 2,400 high-water vehicles and 12 aircraft suitable for rescue and recovery operations. Governor DeSantis has alerted residents to the likelihood of power outages and the potential impact on infrastructure, particularly in areas like Tallahassee where trees and power lines could be significantly affected.
According to the forecast models, the storm is anticipated to curve northeastwards, making landfall along the Gulf coast north of Tampa, then traversing the state diagonally before reemerging in the Atlantic Ocean near southeast Georgia.
In contrast to the Eastern U.S. coastline, which has been spared from cyclones so far this year, Tropical Storm Hilary led to widespread flooding, mudslides, and road closures in regions like Mexico, California, and Nevada. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently revised its predictions, forecasting a more active 2023 hurricane season due to elevated ocean temperatures. The season extends until November 30, with August and September typically being the peak months.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn