Tropical Storm Idalia could reach hurricane strength before hitting Florida this week

Tropical Storm Idalia, currently churning in the Gulf of Mexico, may reach hurricane strength before hitting Florida and the southeastern U.S. later this week.

Monitoring the Storm: Forecasters predict that Tropical Storm Idalia may gain strength from the warm Gulf of Mexico waters and could impact western Florida and the Panhandle with severe weather from Tuesday.
* The exact strength and path of Idalia remains uncertain.
* If Idalia develops into a hurricane and strikes the U.S. at that strength, it would be the first Atlantic hurricane to hit the U.S. this year.
* Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for 33 counties and authorities have begun preparing storm response resources.

Storm Warnings: Tropical storm warnings were in effect Sunday for parts of Mexico and western Cuba due to potential heavy rain, flash flooding, and landslides.
* Idalia is expected to move north through the Gulf of Mexico in the coming days, where it could possibly intensify into a hurricane.
* The storm’s effects could reach parts of Florida as early as Tuesday morning.

Implications on Other Regions: Apart from Florida, other southeastern U.S. states may also be affected by the storm.
* National Hurricane Center deputy director Jamie Rhome noted that the Florida Panhandle is specifically vulnerable to storm surge, a significant concern with Idalia.
* Rhome added that other states in the southeastern U.S. such as Georgia and the Carolinas can expect heavy rainfall later in the week, regardless of how strong Idalia becomes.

Other Weather Developments: Another hurricane, Franklin, was also active in the western Atlantic Ocean on Sunday.
* Although Franklin is expected to impact parts of Bermuda, it is not expected to make a direct hit on the continental U.S.
* Still, Rhome noted the storm could produce rip currents on East Coast beaches.

View original article on NPR

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