Idalia path tracker WATCH LIVE: Where is the hurricane and where will it make landfall

Caribbean Tropical Weather
In this Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, 9:41 am ET satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tropical Storm Idalia moves between Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, left, and Cuba, right. Idalia intensified early Monday and was expected to become a major hurricane before it reaches Florida’s Gulf coast, according to the National Hurricane Center. (NOAA via AP) AP

Idalia path tracker WATCH LIVE: Where is the hurricane and where will it make landfall

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Hurricane Idalia, which is the latest severe storm expected to hit the United States, is approaching Florida’s Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane.

Idalia, which strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane at about 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, has triggered evacuations and states of emergency in the southeast. Millions have been placed under a severe weather watch in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.


Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) gave an update on the storm at 6:30 a.m. from the Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. He said he expects the storm to hit within the next hour and a half.

The storm was originally expected to make landfall in Florida as a Category 3 hurricane, but late Tuesday night, the National Hurricane Center warned Idalia is “still strengthening … forecast to be an extremely dangerous Category 4 intensity at landfall…”

Several hours later, the agency warned that a “catastrophic storm surge and destructive winds are nearing the Florida Big Bend region…”

Category 4 hurricanes carry winds of 130-156 mph, and “catastrophic damage will occur,” according to the NHC. “Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

Where is the hurricane headed?

The Category 4 hurricane is located over the Gulf of Mexico, southwest of Tampa, Florida. It is moving northward at 17 mph and has maximum sustained winds of about 125 miles per hour, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Hurricane Idalia

Idalia is expected to make landfall in Florida’s Big Bend area, which is where the panhandle meets the peninsula, as early as 7 a.m. EDT on Wednesday or as late as 11 a.m. Tampa Bay is included in the Big Bend area and is under evacuation orders.

The storm is also expected to affect 46 counties in Florida along its Gulf Coast, and evacuation orders have been recommended in 23 counties. Experts have also warned storm surges as high as 11 feet are possible for much of northwestern Florida and into the Panhandle. Storm surges account for nearly half of all hurricane-related fatalities, according to the NOAA, and is the reason behind the majority of storm evacuations.

Cedar Key Mayor Heath Davis urged all citizens on the island to evacuate ahead of the hurricane, but close to 100 residents refused to leave. Davis said all emergency services would stop on Tuesday evening when wind gusts in the area reached 39 miles per hour.

“It is imperative that our citizens realize that we’re very serious about that,” Davis told CNN Tuesday. “We can’t allow our employees, our staff, and in this case, because our community is so small, our friends and our family go out into the storm as bad as it’s going to be and put people in danger.”

Once Idalia makes landfall in Florida, the hurricane is expected to continue north through the eastern coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas on Wednesday and Thursday, but it is expected to decrease in strength as it travels north. North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida have all issued a state of emergency, which helps streamline state resources, including activating the state National Guard.


Another hurricane, dubbed Hurricane Franklin, which is a Category 4 hurricane, is located off the East Coast. However, Franklin is not likely to affect much of the U.S. and is expected to just skirt the southeastern coast.

The storms happen to fall around the anniversary of the deadly Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2004.

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