In Florida, a state emergency is in place for 46 out of 67 counties. The state is preparing to face Hurricane Idalia which is expected to land on the state Wednesday.
Idalia was upgraded to Category 1 Hurricane early Tuesday morning, as it passed the coasts of Cuba. The storm is expected to become a major storm with “life-threatening storm surge” when it makes its landfall on Florida’s western coast.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned that the hurricane would have a major impact on Florida, noting what was initially forecast as a tropical storm but is now expected to become a category 3 hurricane.
DeSantis said the counties affected cover a large area stretching from the Gulf Coast up to the Atlantic Coast in the northern half.
DeSantis stated during a Monday news conference that “the property — we can build someone’s house.” “You cannot unring the bell if someone stays in harm’s path and fights Mother Nature,” DeSantis said during a news conference on Monday. You don’t want to fight Mother Nature.
Joe Biden, the president of the United States, said earlier Monday that he spoke with Gov. DeSantis, who is running to be the Republican nominee for president in 2024, has asked to approve an Emergency Declaration that will allow federal funds to assist with repairs and cleanup.
Biden stated that Florida has his full support in preparing for Idalia, and its aftermath.
Florida National Guard has mobilized 1100 members who are equipped with 2,400 high-water vehicle and 12 aircraft for rescue and recovery.
Residents of Florida, on the other hand, began preparing for the storm surge, which could be deadly. They stocked up on sandbags and patio furniture and evacuated their homes along the Gulf Coast. Some people were preparing generators for power outages.
Idalia will start to affect Florida on Tuesday evening with hurricane force winds and reach the coast on Wednesday. This is the first hurricane to hit Florida in this season. It could be a major blow for the state that is still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
Many parts of Florida’s western coast are vulnerable to storm surges and flooding when a storm this size approaches. Pasco and Levy Counties, north of Tampa have both ordered mandatory evacuations. Levy County officials have ordered residents to leave Cedar Key by Tuesday night because the storm surges will make bridges unpassable.
In a public warning, the county warned that “once the storm surge hits, you may not have access to help.”
The National Hurricane Center, Miami, issued a Hurricane Warning Monday for the area from Longboat Key to the Holocene river and up to Tampa Bay.
Several school districts on the Gulf Coast have announced that they will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Eckerd College, in St. Petersburg, told its students that they had to leave the campus by Monday evening.
Tampa International Airport, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport will close Tuesday.
The National Weather Service reported that Idalia had “nearly hurricane strength as it approached Western Cuba” by Monday afternoon.
On Tuesday it was predicted to move faster towards the northeast, and reach Florida’s west coast on Wednesday as a dangerous hurricane.
Idalia was forecast to blow through Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina after moving across Florida. In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia, ordered Monday that emergency managers activate state operations centres.
Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that 2023’s hurricane season will be much busier than originally forecast. This is partly due to extremely warm ocean temperatures. The season lasts until November 30, with the usual peak occurring in August and September.