Hurricane likely to aim for Florida by Tuesday

Hurricane likely to aim for Florida by Tuesday
Hurricane likely to aim for Florida by Tuesday

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We now have Tropical Storm Idalia.

In a revised update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) early Sunday afternoon, Tropical Depression Ten has strengthened into a tropical storm.

Observations from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate Idalia's maximum winds are estimated to 65 km/h with higher gusts. The storm could rapidly develop into a hurricane by early this week as it heads toward Florida.

Forecasters have watched this system with intense interest over the past couple of days. It started to look quite healthy on Saturday afternoon, first growing organized enough to be classified as a tropical depression before becoming a tropical storm Sunday.

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The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) expects this system to pick up speed and additional intensity before moving into the northern Gulf of Mexico.

idalia path
idalia path

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, including Cancun, with tropical storm watches up for the western tip of Cuba.

Idalia will likely grow into a hurricane by Tuesday before landfall in Florida around mid-week.

Folks on the Florida Panhandle and western coast of Florida could see a hurricane moving toward the state by Tuesday, with a landfall possible anywhere between Tallahassee and Tampa.

Water temperatures are extremely warm across the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Temperatures are running 30-31°C across the region, and that warmth extends dozens of metres below the surface. This is a vase reserve of oceanic heat that could allow the storm to quickly strengthen on its approach to Florida.

Sea Surface Temp
Sea Surface Temp

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It’s important to note the region’s history, as many storms in similar scenarios have strengthened all the way up to landfall. This tendency toward sudden intensification often catches residents and visitors off-guard after they expected a much weaker storm than the one they ultimately endured.

Visitors in the region should closely monitor the forecast and heed the advice of local officials in case evacuation orders are issued.

The storm’s high winds, heavy rain, and isolated tornadoes would extend far away from the centre of the storm, and these hazards will likely push deep into the southeastern U.S.—including Georgia and the Carolinas—toward the latter half of the week.

Rough surf and rip currents are likely across the entire Gulf Coast as the storm gathers strength through next week.

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This system’s development would put us a few paces ahead of a ‘normal’ hurricane season, which typically wouldn’t see its tenth named storm until the third week in September. This is in line with predictions of an above-average hurricane season.

storm list
storm list

(If you’re curious -- even though ‘I’ is the ninth letter of the alphabet, the storm count is off by one this year because our first system was an unnamed subtropical storm back in January.)

Stay with The Weather Network for all the latest updates throughout hurricane season.

WATCH: The best time to prepare for a hurricane is before one forms. Here's how

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