TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tropical Storm Idalia is forecast to intensify into a Category 1 hurricane on Monday before strengthening into a major hurricane by Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.
According to a 10 a.m. ET update, Tropical Storm Idalia is moving north around 8 mph and is located about 90 miles south of the western tip of Cuba. Idalia is expected to continue its motion north through Monday evening before turning northeast on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“On the forecast track, the center of Idalia is forecast to pass near or over western Cuba tonight, over the extreme southeastern Gulf of Mexico by early Tuesday, and reach the Gulf coast of Florida on Wednesday,” the NHC said.
Communities across Florida continue to brace as the storms trek north.
On Monday, the National Weather Service issued a Hurricane Watch for several Florida Gulf Coast communities including Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Pasco, and Hernando counties.
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Meteorologists said Idalia’s winds are near 65 mph, with higher gusts.
The National Hurricane Center said Idalia is forecast to pass near or over western Cuba tonight. It is forecast to move over the extreme southeastern Gulf of Mexico by early Tuesday.
The National Hurricane Center said Idalia is forecast to be a dangerous major hurricane when it reaches the Gulf coast of Florida by early Wednesday. Tropical-storm-force winds will extend outward by 70 miles from the center of the storm.
A hurricane watch has been issued for the areas south of Englewood to Indian Pass, including Tampa Bay.
The NHC said Idalia could bring dangerous storm surge to the coast of Florida.
“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” the NHC said.
Officials said the water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide:
- Aucilla River, FL to Chassahowitzka, FL…7-11 ft
- Chassahowitzka, FL to Anclote River, FL…6-9 ft
- Ochlockonee River, FL to Aucilla River, FL…4-7 ft
- Anclote River, FL to Middle of Longboat Key, FL…4-7 ft
- Tampa Bay…4-7 ft
- Middle of Longboat Key, FL to Englewood, FL…3-5 ft
- Englewood, FL to Chokoloskee, FL…2-4 ft
- Charlotte Harbor…2-4 ft
- Indian Pass, FL to Ochlockonee River, FL…2-4 ft
- Chokoloskee, FL to East Cape Sable, FL…1-3 ft
- Florida Keys…1-2 ft
Once the storm moves out of Florida, it could bring scattered flash and urban flooding to southern Georgia and heavy rain in parts of the Carolinas.
WFLA.com will have interactive streaming coverage on Tracking the Tropics starting at 10 a.m.
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