Idalia will make landfall Tuesday as a Category 3 hurricane in Florida

Tropical Storm Idalia is on track to become a Category 3 hurricane before making landfall Tuesday morning in Florida, where forecasters are warning of a “life-threatening” storm surge, strong gusty winds and heavy rain. .

The storm sustained 65 mph winds early Monday about 125 miles off the west coast of Cuba, where it is forecast to bring heavy rain and hurricane-force winds later that day.

Idalia is expected to become a hurricane early Tuesday as it moves from the Gulf of Mexico toward the west coast of Florida.

Severe weather should hit areas like Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg by noon before Idalia makes landfall, according to Fox Weather meteorologist Christopher Tate.

“Idalia’s biggest threat will be storm surge, as the largest population center will be on the eastern side of the storm and that is the dirtier side of the hurricane,” Tate told The Post.

“That’s where you see the strongest winds, the worst surf, and also the heaviest rainfall totals.”

idaliaThe National Hurricane Center warns that Idalia is expected to become a major hurricane before reaching Florida. Weather in Fox

“So it’s going to be a terrible day to have any plans. People should (if they are not evacuating) be ready to shelter in place. Coastal areas will be especially affected,” Tate added.

Along much of Florida’s west coast, up to 11 feet of ocean water could wash ashore, raising concerns of catastrophic flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“That’s 11 feet of water above normally dry ground,” Tate warned, adding that just a few feet of storm surge is enough to cause major urban flooding.

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In addition to heavy rain, hurricane-force winds of over 100 miles per hour, with gusts sometimes reaching up to 130 mph, are expected just after the hurricane makes landfall Tuesday.

“That kind of wind also causes a lot of damage to rooftops, downed trees and power lines,” Tate said. “Structures will be threatened by the magnitude of the winds that are expected, especially along the coast.”

Florida has mobilized 1,100 National Guard members and has “2,400 high water vehicles as well as 12 aircraft that can be used for rescue and recovery efforts,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

“If you are in the path of this storm, you should expect power outages,” DeSantis said. “So please be prepared for that, especially if this storm ends up coming into the Tallahassee region, there’s going to be a lot of trees that are going to be downed, power lines are going to be downed, that’s just going to happen, so just be prepared for that and be able to do what you have to do.”

climate mapIdalia is expected to make landfall in Florida on Tuesday. Weather in Fox
climate mapFlorida officials urge residents to stay vigilant ahead of the storm. Weather in Fox
climate mapA dangerous storm surge could bring up to 11 feet of water to parts of Florida. Weather in Fox

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

DeSantis also urged residents not to delay their storm preparations, recalling the forecast for Hurricane Ian last year, which at one point had the potential to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle.

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Ian made landfall in southwestern Florida as a major hurricane.

climate mapThe storm is expected to dump up to 12 inches of rain on some parts of Florida’s west coast. Weather in Fox

“The models probably match more than when we had Ian last year. But these things can change. There is still some uncertainty,” DeSantis added.

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

“This will ensure that tens of miles inland can be evacuated to safety should the need arise,” the Florida Division of Emergency Management said on social media.

with postal wires

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