Home Weather Idalia Makes Landfall, Dangerous Storm Surge in Big Bend

Idalia Makes Landfall, Dangerous Storm Surge in Big Bend

9am UPDATE: 

Hurricane Idalia made landfall at Keaton Beach in Florida’s Big Bend region shortly before 8 am EDT.  Storm surge of 12 to 14 feet is expected along that portion of the Gulf coast, and the Tampa Bay area is also experiencing significant storm surge flooding.  Idalia’s maximum sustained winds at landfall were 125 miles per hour, so severe wind damage is expected.
At 8 am Wednesday, Idalia was located by NWS radar at 29.9 North, 83.5 West, about 10 miles south-southeast of Perry, Florida.  Maximum sustained winds at that time were 120 miles per hour.  Idalia was moving north-northeast at 18 miles per hour.
Idalia is forecast to move into coastal Georgia and the Carolinas today into  Thursday, exiting into the Atlantic sometime on Thursday morning.  It is expected to slow down and begin to execute a loop.  We’ll keep a very close eye on Idalia through the coming days.




Hurricane Idalia is intensifying and approaching the Gulf coast, to the north of South Florida.  But we’re feeling some of the effects of Idalia.  A tropical storm warning remains from Chokoloskee northward to Longboat Key.  There’s also a tropical storm warning for the Dry Tortugas.  A tropical storm watch remains in effect for the Lower Keys from Key West to the Seven Mile Bridge.  The Naples area is no longer expected to receive significant storm surge flooding, and the storm surge watch from south of Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee has been canceled.

Wednesday features windy conditions, lots of clouds, and plenty of showers and storms as bands from Idalia’s fringes move through South Florida.  Localized flooding from heavy rain is possible.  Expect 1 to 2 feet of storm surge in the Keys (made worse by tidal flooding), which could make portions of the Overseas Highway impassible.  A high risk of dangerous rip currents remains at all South Florida beaches through at least Wednesday evening.  Highs on Wednesday will be in the low 90s — but it will feel at least 10 degrees hotter, so stay hydrated.

Thursday will be breezy and cloudy with periods of showers and storms.  Heavy rain is possible in some locations.  Thursday’s highs will be mostly in the mid-90s in the East Coast metro area and in the low 90s along the Gulf Coast and in the Keys.

Friday will feature a mix of sun, clouds, and a few storms in the morning.  Showers will move in during the afternoon and linger into the evening.  Friday’s highs will be in the mid-90s in the East Coast metro area and in the low 90s along the Gulf Coast and in the Keys.

Saturday will start off the holiday weekend with mostly sunny skies and mainly afternoon showers and storms.  Saturday’s highs will be in the low 90s.

Sunday’s forecast calls for a nice mix of sun and clouds alternating with periods of showers and storms.  Highs on Sunday will be in the low 90s.

In the tropics, Idalia is approaching the Florida Gulf coast. This will be a life-threatening event for portions of the hurricane warning area, which stretches from Longboat Key to Indian Pass in the panhandle.  Idalia can bring up to 15 feet of storm surge to locations in the Big Bend, and Tampa Bay can expect 4 to 7 feet of storm surge, which will flood many downtown locations.  Idalia’s top winds were up to 100 miles per hour at 5 pm on Tuesday, and forecasters were calling for maximum sustained winds of as much as 125 miles per hour before landfall.  This is an extremely dangerous hurricane.

Franklin remains a powerful hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour at midday on Tuesday.  There is now a tropical storm warning for Bermuda as Franklin is forecast to come too close for comfort on Wednesday.  And Franklin continues to bring life-threatening rip currents and dangerously rough surf to much of the U.S. Atlantic coast.

Elsewhere, a disturbance in the middle of the Atlantic became Tropical Depression # 11 on Tuesday, but it is expected to remain in open waters and be short-lived.  The wave in the eastern Atlantic has a medium chance of development as it moves to the northwest, and it should be no threat to the U.S.

Donna Thomas has studied hurricanes for two decades. She holds a PhD in history when her experience with Hurricane Andrew ultimately led her to earn a degree in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University. Donna spent 15 years at WFOR-TV (CBS4 in Miami-Fort Lauderdale), where she worked as a weather producer with hurricane experts Bryan Norcross and David Bernard. She also produced hurricane specials and weather-related features and news coverage, as well as serving as pool TV producer at the National Hurricane Center during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Donna also served as a researcher on NOAA's Atlantic Hurricane Database Reanalysis Project. Donna specializes in Florida's hurricane history.