- Florida is preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Idalia.
- Meteorologists assume that “Idalia” will develop into a storm of dangerous strength before it reaches the mainland on Wednesday.
- Hurricane and storm surge warnings have been issued for parts of the coast.
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has called for evacuation.
Tropical storm “Idalia” has developed into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico and, according to weather experts, will continue to gain strength on its way towards Florida. Persistent wind speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour were measured, said the US Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami. That equates to a category one (out of five) hurricane.
The NHC warned that “Idalia” is expected to quickly grow into an “extremely dangerous” hurricane that could cause life-threatening flooding. On Wednesday morning (local time), he could therefore hit the west coast of the US state of Florida as a category three hurricane.
Governor Ron DeSantis urges people to evacuate
Residents in the catchment area of hurricane “Idalia” should immediately follow the evacuation warnings from the authorities.
Ron DeSantis said Idalia hit the state coast Wednesday morning as a Category 3 storm. In particular, residents of coastal areas should seek safety in higher ground.
A state of emergency was also declared in the neighboring states of Georgia and North and South Carolina.
Warnings issued for Cuba
The hurricane center also issued a warning for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio, where the strength of the storm was already approaching hurricane level on Monday evening (local time).
The cyclone alarm phase has been in effect since 6 p.m. Monday (local time) for the provinces of Pinar del Río, Artemisa and the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud. A storm warning has been issued for the provinces of Havana and Mayabeque.
State of emergency for 46 districts
Florida is already preparing for the storm. Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for 46 counties as a precaution. In 22 districts, residents are being asked to leave their homes and get to safety. He also announced the mobilization of around 5,500 National Guard soldiers.
The airport in Tampa announced that it would temporarily stop flight operations from Tuesday due to “Idalia”. In some districts, people have already been asked to leave their homes. The state of South Carolina has also declared a state of emergency.
US government promises help
US President Joe Biden pledged full support to the state. Heavy rains and storms are also expected in the interior and on the east coast of Florida.
The hurricane is also likely to hit the coasts of the US states of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina before moving into the Atlantic.