More than 30 Florida counties have declared states of emergency as Category 2 Hurricane Idalia approaches the state’s coast on Wednesday. Forecasters have warned of storm surges, landslides, and widespread power outages.
Idalia is forecast to intensify into a hurricane on Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico before veering northeast and making landfall on Florida’s west coast with gusts of up to 100 mph.
Up to 11 feet of ocean water could pour ashore along a significant portion of Florida’s west coast, prompting concerns of severe floods.
As the weather system intensifies, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis proclaimed a state of emergency for the majority of the state’s Gulf coast on Saturday.
DeSantis’ comment applies to the region that runs from Fort Myers in the southwest to Panama City in the Panhandle along the Gulf of Mexico.
33 of the 67 counties in the state are covered by the proclamation.
According to the hurricane center, there is a 90% likelihood that the system will develop into a tropical storm by Monday.
Florida’s Precautionary Measures and Resource Deployment Ahead of Potential Landfall
In the event that no other tropical storm forms before it, it will be called Idalia. The southwest Florida districts are not expected to be in the path of the storm’s center.
In a statement, DeSantis claimed that he had signed the executive order out of a great deal of precaution so that the Florida Division of Emergency Management could start gathering resources and Floridians would have plenty of time to get their families ready for a storm the following week.
Emergency personnel in Florida warned citizens to keep their car gas tanks at least half full in case they needed to escape on Sunday.
According to DeSantis, the Republican governor and potential GOP presidential nominee, Florida has deployed 1,100 troops of the National Guard and has 2,400 high-water vehicles and 12 aircraft available for use in rescue and recovery operations.
Forecast models predict that the storm will proceed diagonally over Florida before reemerging in the Atlantic Ocean near to southeast Georgia. It is also anticipated to land in the Gulf coast north of Tampa around the Big Bend area.
The East Coast has avoided being affected by cyclones.
Tropical Storm Hilary, which hit the west earlier this month, caused massive floods, mudslides, and road closures in Mexico, California, Nevada, and other northern states.
The 2023 hurricane season will be much busier than anticipated, according to latest information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in part due to exceptionally warm ocean temperatures. The peak months of the season are typically August and September, which last until November 30.