Idalia Becomes Hurricane, Poses Major Threat to Florida: Evacuation Orders Issued
Idalia rapidly intensified into a hurricane early on Tuesday, setting its sights on Florida as a menacing major hurricane. At the latest update at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Idalia was positioned 85 miles north of the western tip of Cuba, boasting wind speeds of 75 mph and a northward pace of 14 mph.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasts that Idalia will traverse the eastern Gulf of Mexico today, target the Gulf coast of Florida within the Hurricane Warning area by Wednesday, and come close to the Carolina coastline on Thursday. The NHC also warns of swift intensification leading up to landfall, with Idalia expected to transform into an extremely perilous major hurricane before reaching land on Wednesday.
Regions spanning the west coast of Florida, the Florida Panhandle, southeast Georgia, and the eastern Carolinas should brace for 4 to 8 inches of rainfall from Tuesday through Thursday. Localized areas, particularly those near the anticipated landfall site in northern Florida, could witness even higher amounts, with totals of up to 12 inches possible.
Governor Ron DeSantis has issued evacuation orders for 21 counties. If you find yourself under such an order, it’s imperative to take it seriously and move to a safer location. Aim to travel tens of miles, rather than hundreds of miles, to reach a place of safety. Additionally, the NHC has highlighted the risk of life-threatening storm surges along segments of the Gulf Coast, with water levels projected to surge 8 to 12 feet above ground level in certain areas.
In response to Hurricane Idalia, Walt Disney World has released a statement. Despite their usual policy requiring a Hurricane Warning for fee waivers, they have announced that cancellation fees will be waived. The safety of guests remains a priority, and Disney World is closely monitoring the situation. Visitors should stay updated on any further announcements from the resort.
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