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Storm Idalia strengthens on projected path to Florida as Hurricane Franklin threatens East Coast - latest

Tropical Storm Idalia is expected to hit Florida after intensifying into a category 3 hurricane, with fears that the storm could bring “life-threatening” surges and flooding.

The storm was located near the coast of Cuba on Sunday on a potential track to come ashore as a hurricane in the southern US by Tuesday or Wednesday morning, the National Hurricane Center said.

Forecasters said they expected Idalia to become a hurricane on Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico and then curve northeast toward the west coast of Florida. The storm is currently packing maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kmh).

A state of emergency was issued for half of Florida’s counties on Saturday, with governor Ron DeSantis asking residents to “have a plan and a stocked supply kit and follow @FLSERT for updates.”

“This thing hasn’t even gotten to Cuba yet, and the water in the Gulf is very, very warm and so that will provide some fuel for this thing to pick up some more speed,” Florida governor Ron DeSantis said at a briefing on Sunday.

Key Points

  • Idalia to strengthen into category 3 'major hurricane'

  • Tracking Idalia: Where is tropical storm going to hit after turning into hurricane

  • Large parts of western coast of Florida at risk of seawater surge, experts say

  • Lightning flashes as Tropical Storm Idalia forecast to hit Florida

  • When and where will Idalia hit?

Florida officials begin ordering evacuations, opening shelters

17:01 , Graig Graziosi

Communities on Florida’s west coast are being ordered to evacuate as Tropical Storm Idalia barrels north toward the state.

The storm is expected to strengthen as it hits the Gulf of Mexico, and forecasters believe it will make landfall in Florida as a Category 3 hurricane.

Some Tampa-area residents, including individuals living in parts of Manatee and Pasco counties, have been ordered to evacuate.

Officials in Manatee County, which is south of Tampa, said that the regions transit services would continue until wind speeds reached 45mph, after which busses will cease.

North of Tampa in Hernando County, mandatory evacuations will go into effect on Tuesday morning, while voluntary evacuations are ongoing. The county is opening its hurricane shelters today at noon.

A state of emergency has been declared for Pinellas County, to the city’s west as it prepares to open its shelters.

National Weather Service issues ‘life-threatening' storm surge warnings ahead of Storm Idalia

16:34 , Graig Graziosi

The National Weather Service has issued storm surge warnings for western Florida in the wake of Storm Idalia, which is expected to make landfall in the Sunshine State on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane.

The NWS said that “life-threatening” storm surges along affected parts of Florida’s Gulf coast were likely. Those regions include the cities of Tampa as well as Big Bend.

Inundation from 7 to 11 feet is expected between the Chassahowitzka and Aucilla Rivers, and urban flash flooding is likely.

16:11 , Graig Graziosi

Joe Biden approved an emergency declaratio for the state of Florida on Monday after speaking with its governor, Ron DeSantis.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has already deployed personnel and “assets” to Florida ahead of Storm Idalia. “FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center has also been fully activated to support any requests for federal assistance,” the White House said in a statement

Joe Biden and Ron DeSantis, potential 2024 rivals, prepare for hurricane’s arrival in Florida

15:10 , Graig Graziosi

Joe Biden and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reportedly spoke this morning to discuss Tropical Storm Idalia and its likely landfall in western Florida.

Mr Biden reportedly told the governor that “Florida will have his full support as they prepare for Idalia and its aftermath,” and said he was committed to providing continual assistance to the city of Jacksonville following a mass shooting there on Saturday.

Mr DeSantis is hoping to challenge Mr Biden in the 2024 presidential election, though the Republican governor is still trailing behind the party’s frontrunner, Donald Trump, by a significant margin.

Ron DeSantis holds briefing as Tropical Storm Idalia threatens Florida

15:00 , Graig Graziosi

Watch live as Ron DeSantis holds a news briefing on Monday, 28 August, as Tropical Storm Idalia develops in the Gulf of Mexico, potentially threatening Florida.

The storm is expected to hit the state by Tuesday or Wednesday morning after intensifying into a category 3 hurricane, the National Hurrican Center (NHC) said.

There are fears that the storm could bring “life-threatening” surges and flooding.

As of Monday, Idalia packed maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kmh).

The Florida governor has asked residents to “have a plan and a stocked supply kit” as a state of emergency was declared for half of the state’s counties.READ MORE:

Live: Ron DeSantis holds briefing as Tropical Storm Idalia threatens Florida

Hurricane expert believes Tropical Storm Idalia could whip into storm with more than 100mph winds

14:36 , Graig Graziosi

Dr Levi Cowan, a senior scientist at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, said Monday that he believes Tropical Storm Idalia could eventually produce more than 100mph winds when it reaches its full strength.

He noted in a post on X/Twitter that the storm still hadn’t quite found its core, but estimated that its primary growth period would occur once it reahces the Gulf of Mexico near Florida, meaning it still have plenty of time to ramp up in strength.

Florida issues state of emergency for half its counties

14:00 , Stuti Mishra

A state of emergency was issued for half of Florida counties on Saturday ahead of a potential hurricane that is on track to hit the state.

“I’ve signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency for 33 counties in preparation...,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Read more:

Florida issues state of emergency as Tropical Storm Idalia heads for state

When and where will Idalia hit?

13:10 , Stuti Mishra

Tropical storm Idalia is forecast to reach Gulf of Florida by Tuesday as a category 3 "major" hurricane with a mix of heavy rains, high winds and damaging storm surge.

Along a vast stretch of Florida's west coast, up to 11 feet (3.4 meters) of ocean water could surge on shore, raising fears of destructive flooding.

Idalia is expected to intensify into a hurricane today and make landfall by Wednesday morning near the Big Bend of Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center, said.

The storm is currently about 125 miles off the western tip of Cuba, whipping up maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, the hurricane center said in a 5am update.

Tropical Storm Idalia (NWS)
Tropical Storm Idalia (NWS)

Florida mobilises 1,100 national guards, asks people to keep gas tanks at least half-full

12:35 , Stuti Mishra

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

"This will ensure you can evacuate tens of miles inland to a safe location should the need arise," the Florida Division of Emergency Management said on social media.

Florida has mobilised 1,100 National Guard members, and "they have at their disposal 2,400 high-water vehicles, as well as 12 aircraft that can be used for rescue and recovery efforts," said Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor who is a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination.

"If you are in the path of this storm, you should expect power outages," he added. "So please prepare for that, particularly if this storm ends up coming in the Tallahassee region, there's a lot trees that are going to get knocked down, the power lines are going to get knocked down - that is just going to happen, so just be prepared for that and be able to do what you need to do."

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

Idalia to bring 'intense torrential rains' to Mexico

12:04 , Stuti Mishra

Mexico's National Meteorological Service on Sunday warned of intense torrential rains showering the Yucatan Peninsula, with winds as fast as 55 mph (89 kph).

It said the storm could cause anything from powerful waves to flooding in southern Mexico, mainly around coastal cities in the Yucatan and Quintana Roo states. It asked citizens to stay alert.

Idalia storm surge map

11:30 , Stuti Mishra

This map from the National Hurricane Center shows which areas could see high sea waves as tropical storm Idalia barrels towards Florida, where it is forecast to become a category 3 “major” hurricane.

In some areas marked in red, the NHC forecast shows storm surges could be over 7 feet high. While others, including the Tampa Bay area, could see a surge between 4-7 feet.

Map from National Hurricane Centre shows forecast for peak storm surge from tropical storm Idalia (National Hurricane Center)
Map from National Hurricane Centre shows forecast for peak storm surge from tropical storm Idalia (National Hurricane Center)

Idalia to strengthen into category 3 'major hurricane'

11:02 , Stuti Mishra

Tropical storm Idalia is now forecast to become a category 3 "major hurricane" before it reaches the Gulf of Florida, the National Hurricane Center has said in its latest advisory.

The storm was earlier expected to intensify to category 2 on Tuesday as it inches closer to land, but the fact it has lingered over warmer waters near the coast has made the storm stronger.

The risk "continues to increase for life-threatening storm surge and dangerous hurricane force winds", the NHC said in its 5am advisory.

DeSantis leaves campaign trail and returns to Florida

10:30 , Stuti Mishra

A day after appearing in Iowa, governor Ron DeSantis was back in the state capital of Tallahassee on Sunday for a news conference on Tropical Storm Idalia. He urged Floridians to heed the advice of emergency managers.

Mr DeSantis said in a statement that he issued his executive order “out of an abundance of caution to ensure that the Florida Division of Emergency Management can begin staging resources and Floridians have plenty of time to prepare their families for a storm next week.”

“I encourage Floridians to have a plan in place and ensure that their hurricane supply kit is stocked," he said.

Forecast models have the storm curving to the northeast toward Florida, coming ashore along the Gulf coast north of Tampa near the Big Bend area and then heading diagonally across the state to emerge again in the Atlantic Ocean near southeast Georgia.

Idalia continues to strengthen

10:03 , Stuti Mishra

Meteorologists and weather experts tracking tropical storm Idalia have raised alarms over how quickly the storm is intensifying as it is forecast to become a category 2 hurricane when it reaches the US coast.

Extreme weather expert Colin McCarthy called it “ominous signs for Florida” as Idalia spends “much more time over the hot waters of the Caribbean than initially anticipated.”

“@NHC_Atlantic is currently forecasting landfall as a Category 2 hurricane near Cedar Key, but hurricane models continue to suggest a major hurricane could be possible at landfall,” Mr McCarthy wrote.

'If you are asked to evacuate, do so': Experts say forecast for storm surge in Florida increases

09:31 , Stuti Mishra

Idalia is expected to bring storm surges up to seven feet high in the Tampa Bay area when it reaches the coast of Florida, experts warn, adding that such high waves can “inundate numerous low-lying areas in the region”.

“The forecast for #stormsurge continues to increase,” writes Craig Ceecee, a meteorologist.

“Notice that in the Tampa Bay area, 4 to 7 feet is now the forecast. That will inundate numerous low-lying areas in the region.”

“If you are asked to evacuate, do so. If you can’t due to money or vehicle, call 211 for help.”

Lightning flashes as Tropical Storm Idalia forecast to hit Florida

09:00 , Stuti Mishra

Another tropical storm, Hurricane Franklin, gains strength and takes aim at Bermuda

08:30 , Stuti Mishra

Hurricane Franklin, another storm formed in the Atlantic apart from Idalia, is forecast to become the Atlantic's first major hurricane of the season on Monday.

The storm is on track to pass close to Bermuda on Wednesday, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

At around 11pm Eastern time (0300 GMT), Franklin was about 530 miles (855 km) southwest of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds nearing 105 mph (165 kph), the Miami-based centre said in an advisory.

"Additional strengthening is forecast, and Franklin is forecast to become a major hurricane on Monday," the advisory said.

A tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of above 110 mph (177 kph) or higher is considered a major hurricane.

Large parts of western coast of Florida at risk of seawater surge, experts say

08:10 , Stuti Mishra

Large parts of the western coast of Florida are at risk of seawater surging onto land and flooding communities, experts say, asking residents to "pay attention" as tropical storm Idalia approaches.

That part of Florida is very vulnerable to storm surges, Jamie Rhome, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center, said on Sunday.

"So it will not take a strong system or a direct hit to produce significant storm surge," he said.

"So if you're anywhere along the Florida Peninsula, western Florida Peninsula, so let's say from about Fort Myers northward to the Panhandle, you've really got to be paying attention."

Florida issues state of emergency for half its counties

07:30 , Stuti Mishra

A state of emergency was issued for half of Florida counties on Saturday ahead of a potential hurricane that is on track to hit the state.

“I’ve signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency for 33 counties in preparation...,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Read more:

Florida issues state of emergency as Tropical Storm Idalia heads for state

Tracking Idalia: Where is tropical storm going to hit after turning into hurricane

07:10 , Stuti Mishra

The path of tropical storm Idalia shows it heading towards Florida’s Gulf Coast by Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Idalia could come with winds of up to 100 mph (160 kph), according to the latest forecasts from the Hurricane Center. That would make it a Category 2 hurricane.

Tropical Storm Idalia (NWS)
Tropical Storm Idalia (NWS)

Storm Idalia to become hurricane as it barrels towards Florida

06:51 , Stuti Mishra

Tropical Storm Idalia is expected to hit Florida after intensifying into a category 2 hurricane this week, with fears that the storm could bring “life-threatening” surges and flooding.

The storm was located near the coast of Cuba on Sunday night on a potential track to come ashore as a hurricane in the southern US by Tuesday or Wednesday morning, the National Hurricane Center said.

At 10pm CDT on Sunday, the storm was about 145 miles (235 kilometres) off the western tip of Cuba with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kmh). The storm was stationary at the time, the hurricane center said.

Forecasters said they expected Idalia to become a hurricane on Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico and then curve northeast toward the west coast of Florida.

Idalia could approach Florida on Wednesday with winds of up to 100 mph (160 kph), according to the latest forecasts from the Hurricane Center. That would make it a Category 2 hurricane.

06:20 , Stuti Mishra

Welcome to The Independent’s liveblog with the latest updates on tropical storm Idalia as it heads towards Cuba and Florida as a category 2 hurricane.