Hurricane Idalia barrels toward Florida as a category four hurricane
Hurricane Idalia is now a category four hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 215 km/h with higher gusts.
The hurricane is nearing the Florida Big Bend region and will bring catastrophic storm surge and destructive winds to the area in just a few hours.
Storm surge and tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded. Storm surge of 12 to 16 feet is possible from Wakulla/Jefferson County to Yankeetown, 8 to 12 feet from Ochlockonee River to Wakulla/Jefferson County, and 7 to 11 feet from Yankeetown to Chassahowitzka.
The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the right of the center, where large and destructive waves will accompany the surge.
Swells generated by Idalia are affecting the southwestern coast of Florida and will spread northward and westward to the north-central Gulf coast through today.
There is a risk of tornadoes for west-central and northern Florida into southeast Georgia, with the tornado risk shifting toward the coastal Carolinas this afternoon and tonight.
Idalia is expected to produce a swath of 4 to 8 inches of rainfall isolated amounts up to 12 inches from the Florida Big Bend through central Georgia and South Carolina, and through eastern North Carolina into Thursday.
Flash flooding and urban flooding is expected.
Idalia will lose some strength as it moves across land, however, it will still be a hurricane as it moves across southern Georgia, and near the coast of Georgia or southern South Carolina later today. Idalia should move off the southeastern United States coast early on Thursday and eastward through late week.