The Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Kevin Guthrie, is expecting Tropical Storm Idalia to reach Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, and the National Hurricane Center’s most recent update reveals the storm is continuing to strengthen.
Idalia Expected to Reach Category 4
Earlier this morning, August 28, the storm was thought to be capable of reaching a minimum of Category 3 — it now seems Idalia may become more ferocious than that. Director Guthrie spoke to the Tampa Bay Times:
I’m anticipating it is going to be a [Category] 4 and we are preparing as such.
Idalia is currently expected to make landfall in Florida around Wednesday morning, August 30.
A Category 4 hurricane can cause “catastrophic damage” and is defined with wind speeds between 130 and 156 miles per hour.
On the most recent map above from 1 p.m. ET, an “M” marks a major hurricane while an “H” marks a smaller one. Idalia will be relatively formidable when its impacts pass through Central Florida. The Florida Panhandle & Gulf Coast are most at risk for direct impact before the storm ventures inland, up through the Georgia coast, re-entering the Atlantic Ocean somewhere at the border with South Carolina.
The greatest effects on the region are anticipated to occur around Wednesday morning and afternoon, August 30. Regardless of whether or not your local community is within the cone of uncertainty, experts are advising Floridians to prepare with essentials such as water, radios, first aid kits, flashlights, and spare batteries. Life-threatening storm surge is a major risk for coastal communities while high winds and flooding endanger inland areas. It is also extremely important to be wary of downed power lines.
As of 4 a.m. ET, a Tropical Storm Watch has now been issued for Orange and Osceola Counties, including Walt Disney World.
Walt Disney World’s Hurricane Policy states that a Hurricane Warning must be issued for cancellation or change fees to be waived. We will provide updates if the resort plans any closures or other actions connected to the adverse weather conditions.