Ominous signs for Florida as Tropical Storm Idalia continues to strengthen ahead of schedule spending much more time over the hot waters of the Caribbean than initially anticipated.

NHC Atlantic is currently forecasting landfall as a low Category 3 hurricane near Cedar Key, but hurricane models continue to suggest a major hurricane could be possible at landfall.

The Tampa Bay region needs to pay close attention to this storm as a shift east in the forecast could put the area under a much greater risk of dangerous storm surge. 3-5 feet of storm surge is already forecast, which would inundate many coastal areas near Tampa. Tampa is one of if not the most vulnerable cities in the US to storm surge, which is the deadliest part of hurricanes. 

 

 

 

 

 

Threat level: The storm is forecast to rapidly intensify over record-warm ocean waters for this time of year, and bring a “life-threatening storm surge” and “dangerous winds” to parts of Florida.

  • Hurricane and storm surge watches have been issued for parts of the Florida coast, and warnings may be issued later Monday.
  • “The bottom line is that rapid intensification is becoming increasingly likely before landfall,” Hurricane Center forecasters stated in a forecast discussion Monday morning.
  • “Interests within the storm surge and hurricane watch areas are urged to prepare for possible significant impacts and monitor future updates to the forecast for this increasingly dangerous situation,” NHC stated.

 

Zoom in: In its latest advisory, the NHC forecasts the storm will become a hurricane on Monday and will likely be “near or at major hurricane intensity” when it reaches the Gulf coast of Florida on Wednesday.

  • The official forecast calls for a low-end Category 3 storm, with 115 mile-per-hour sustained winds, at landfall on Wednesday.
  • It’s expected to make landfall somewhere between Tampa and Tallahassee on Wednesday morning, but high winds and storm surge flooding are likely to begin to affect these areas, as well as surrounding regions, late Tuesday.
  • The storm’s ultimate intensity will depend on how quickly it can organize before emerging in the southern Gulf of Mexico on Monday, and the evolution of weather systems surrounding Idalia when it moves closer to the U.S. coast.

 

We are already starting to see effects of the rising tide in St. Petersburg:

 

 

Hurricane Franklin over on the Atlantic has reached Category 4 status, this poses a threat to the Carolinas for the storm surge and winds from both Idalia and Franklin.

 

 

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