Miami (WABC) — Florida residents sandbagged and evacuated their homes from low-lying Gulf Coast areas as Tropical Storm Idalia intensified Monday as forecasters predicted it would become a major hurricane within days with potentially life-threatening storm surge .
Just as the government prepared, Idalia brought heavy rains to Cuba, especially in the far west of the island, where the tobacco-producing province of Pinar del Río was still recovering from damage caused by Hurricane Ian nearly a year ago. recover from damage.
Idalia is expected to begin affecting Florida as a hurricane as early as Tuesday night and reach the coast by Wednesday. It was the first storm to hit Florida this hurricane season and could deal a major blow to the state, which is also dealing with lingering damage from last year’s Hurricane Ian.
Tropical Storm Idalia was about 10 miles (15 kilometers) from the tip of Cuba at 11 p.m. EDT Monday, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph), the hurricane center said. Adalia was heading north at 8 mph (13 km/h). On Tuesday, it was expected to turn more rapidly to the northeast and reach Florida’s west coast on Wednesday as a dangerously large hurricane.
A tropical storm warning was in effect Monday night along the east coast of Florida and the southeastern Georgia coast from Sebastian Bay northward to Altamaha Bay.
After passing through Florida, Idalia is expected to blow over Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
get ready florida
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 46 counties that stretch across the northern half of the state from the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic coast. The state has mobilized 1,100 National Guard members, 2,400 high-water vehicles and 12 aircraft for rescue and recovery efforts.
Tampa International Airport and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport said they would be closed Tuesday, and Sunrail commuter rail service in Orlando was also suspended.
DeSantis warned that Idalia could become a Category 3 hurricane with “significant impacts” on the state.
“We can rebuild someone’s house,” DeSantis said at a news conference Monday. “But you can’t sound the alarm if someone is at risk and fighting against Mother Nature.”
Much of Florida’s west coast is under threat of storm surge and flooding. Both Pasco and Levy counties, north of Tampa, ordered mandatory evacuations of some residents. Levy County officials said residents of Cedar Island had until Tuesday night to leave the island because storm surge would render bridges impassable.
“Once a storm surge hits, you may not be able to get help,” the county said in a public advisory.
The FAA said it was closely monitoring the tropical storm’s track. Officials urged travelers to contact airlines and follow FAA.gov for updates.
Tampa International Airport closed for operations at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
Major airlines have issued travel alerts. Their website links are as follows:
Some information comes from The Associated Press.
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