The formation of Tropical Storm Idalia in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday came amid warnings that it might make landfall as a hurricane along Florida’s coast, pummeling the area with up to 18 inches of rain less than a year after the devastating Hurricane Ian.
Idalia might become a significant hurricane
It would be “naive” to overlook the warning signs that Idalia might become a significant hurricane, with sustained winds of at least 111 mph for Category 3 status, according to Ryan Truchelut, chief meteorologist at WeatherTiger in Florida, forecasters warn.
Idalia appeared to be producing “deep area” thunderstorm activity near its circulation center on Sunday night, according to Truchelut, who noted that the storm might intensify on Monday. Idalia was located in the northwest Caribbean. Idalia had also moved slightly eastward at a speed of 3 mph with stronger sustained winds that were now reaching a maximum of 45 mph.
The USA TODAY Network’s forecaster, Truchelut, stated that both more detrimental and less detrimental outcomes are still possible. However, a probable major storm landfall Wednesday poses a substantial risk of surge, wind, and rain impacts on the shores of the eastern Panhandle, Big Bend, and west-central Florida.
AccuWeather: There is a high risk of an impact in the Big Bend area of the Gulf Coast
In central and northern Florida, several inches of rain could cause inland flooding in low-lying areas to start as early as Tuesday, according to AccuWeather. Much of northern and central Florida can expect wind gusts of up to 60 mph, while the Florida Gulf Coast might see gusts of up to 80 mph.
According to AccuWeather, there is a high risk of an impact in the Big Bend area of the Gulf Coast, which connects the Panhandle and peninsula. Idalia is closing in on the state and intensifying as it crosses the Gulf’s warm waters, posing a threat of life-threatening damaging winds, torrential rain, and storm surge flooding.
Flights into and out of the area on Tuesday and Wednesday may have severe airline delays as a result of the storm, according to AccuWeather, reports from Yahoo.