Idalia is now a major Hurricane

Drier days to follow

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At 200 a.m., Hurricane Idalia was located near latitude 28.3 North, longitude 84.5 West. Idalia is moving toward the north near 15 mph. A northward to north-northeastward motion is expected through morning, with Idalia’s center forecast to reach the Big Bend coast of Florida this morning. After landfall, Idalia is forecast to turn toward the northeast and east-northeast, moving near or along the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina late today and Thursday.

Hurricane Hunter aircraft data indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to nearly 120 mph (195 km/h) with higher gusts. Idalia is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Additional strengthening is forecast, and Idalia is forecast to become a category 4 hurricane before it reaches the Big Bend coast of Florida this morning. Idalia is likely to still be a hurricane while moving across southern Georgia and possibly when it reaches the coast of Georgia or southern South Carolina late today. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles.

Wednesday: Tropical Impacts! Tropical Storm and Hurricane force wind gusts will be possible near and along I-75 as early as sunrise. These conditions will move to Highway 301/US1 around 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The worst conditions will be between noon and 5 p.m. Locally heavy bands of rain, strong wind gusts and possible tornadoes will be the primary hazards. Rain and wind will slowly end after 8 p.m. Keep a watchful eye on this changing and strengthening storm.

Here is what to expect based on the current storm track:

Sunrise through 9 a.m., making landfall along the Big Bend, near Taylor County.

9 a.m. through 11 a.m., Rain and storms, some locally heavy from Highway 301/US1 to the Big Bend and SE GA west of US 1. Tornadoes possible.

Noon through 5 p.m., Locally heavy rainfall, very windy, possible tornadoes from Highway 301/US1 east to I-95 and the beaches.

6 p.m. through 10 p.m., Improving conditions, less wind and rain. I expect to see the current warnings expire as Idalia weakens and moves into the Carolinas.

Looking ahead: Drier days will follow Idalia. Near seasonal temperatures with isolated showers and thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday.

Sunrise: 7:02 am

Sunset: 7:53 pm

About the Author:

Richard Nunn is the Weather Authority Chief Meteorologist