Idalia strengthens into Category 1 hurricane

Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 5:25 AM EDT
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Idalia strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane on Tuesday morning and is expected to rapidly intensify into a dangerous major hurricane before making landfall on Florida’s west coast on Wednesday.

According to the 11 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Idalia has maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour and is moving north at 14 miles per hour.

Hurricane Idalia, 11 a.m. on Aug. 29, 2023.
Hurricane Idalia, 11 a.m. on Aug. 29, 2023.

Conditions across Florida will deteriorate throughout Tuesday.

The worst of the impacts will be for the west coast later Tuesday and Tuesday night, then the northwest coast and North Florida late Tuesday and Wednesday as Idalia makes landfall on Wednesday morning.

The latest computer models have Idalia making landfall in the Big Bend of Florida, near Cedar Key or just to the north, as a major Category 3 hurricane between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Hurricane Idalia, 11 a.m. on Aug. 29, 2023.
Hurricane Idalia, 11 a.m. on Aug. 29, 2023.

"As Hurricane Idalia moves northward over the eastern Gulf waters, it has that opportunity to continue to strengthen into eventually a Category 2 by later this afternoon. And then by late tonight, if not tomorrow, a Category 3," WPTV First Alert Weather meteorologist Jennifer Correa said.

While South Florida and the Treasure Coast will not get a direct hit, there will still be gusty, heavy rain bands swinging through starting late Tuesday and Wednesday. This will be Idalia's outer bands moving through, which will also bring a severe weather threat and the possibility of isolated tornadoes.

"As we go into later on today, we're gonna start to see those rain bands come into our area here locally," Correa said.

Winds will increase throughout Tuesday and peak on Wednesday, with wind gusts up to tropical storm force.

“We’ll peak around tomorrow, early in the day through the early afternoon hours,” Correa said. “But then by tomorrow night and especially Thursday, it’ll still be on the gusty side, but typical.

Moisture will trail behind Idalia on Thursday as the hurricane moves into the Atlantic waters offshore of the Carolinas, which will keep our weather stormy and breezy through Friday.

Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast are not under any weather watches or warnings because of Idalia.

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