Idalia still a tropical storm at 2 a.m.

Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 2:01 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - At 2 a.m. Idalia is still considered a tropical storm, but expected to reach hurricane strength Tuesday morning.

Maximum winds are 70 MPH. The storm is pushing slowly north of Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to rapidly strengthen as it moves over the warm Gulf of Mexico with water temperatures nearing 90 degrees. 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.

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.

Life-threatening storm surge of 3 to 5 feet 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 to 6 inches of rain from central Sarasota and Manatee Counties westward. Not expecting any serious river flooding with this storm.