Hurricane Idalia expected to strengthen before Florida hit

The Suncoast could start to see Tropical Storm force winds
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 10:56 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Idalia is still a Category 1 hurricane, but warm waters are expected to increase its strength before she hits Florida.

Idalia is projected to reach Category 3 late this evening. Currently the storm has maximum sustained winds of 75 MPH.

People along the west coast of Florida should prepare accordingly. The Suncoast is expected to see tropical storm force winds beginning around 6 p.m. Tuesday evening. The biggest concern is the potential storm surge Idalia could cause in coastal areas. Mandatory evacuations are in effect for Level A in Manatee County and Sarasota County. This includes any mobile homes that are not located in Level A. Voluntary evacuations are in effect for Level B in Manatee County.

Conditions in the atmosphere will remain somewhat favorable for Idalia to get stronger as well with little shear expected. There is no change to the track, moving N to NE through Wednesday. Landfall is still expected in the Nature Coast in the Big Bend area Wednesday morning.

WWSB ABC7 Good Morning Suncoast - Weekdays at 6am

Life-threatening storm surge. of 3-5 ft. is likely from Anna Maria southward through Englewood. This accompanied with king tides will cause some significant flooding along the barrier islands. A Storm Surge Warning is in effect.

We are expecting to see 4-6 inches of rain from central Sarasota and Manatee Counties westward. Not expecting any serious river flooding with this storm.