Idalia Strengthens Into A Hurricane As It Barrels Toward Florida

Satellite Image of Hurricane Idalia

Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Idalia strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane with sustained wind speeds of 100 mph as it barreled toward the western coast of Florida. The storm is forecast to become an "extremely dangerous" Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds between 111-129 mph before making landfall on Wednesday (August 30).

Idalia was about 195 miles southwest of Tampa and moving north at about 16 mph as of 5 p.m. ET.

"Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area in Florida by late today or Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions beginning today," the National Hurricane Center said in a Tuesday morning update.

Idalia is forecast to dump between four and eight inches of rain, though some areas could see up to a foot of rain.

"Areas of flash and urban flooding, some of which may be locally significant, are expected across portions of the west coast of Florida, the Florida Panhandle, and southern Georgia today into Wednesday, spreading into portions of the eastern Carolinas Wednesday into Thursday," the National Hurricane Center warned.

The entire western coast of Florida could see a storm surge of two to three feet. Some areas, including the panhandle, could see a storm surge up to 12 feet, while Tampa could see a storm surge between four and seven feet.

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