Authorities in Florida has urged millions of residents to prepare to evacuate, ahead of an expected landfall early on Wednesday, as Tropical Storm Idalia barrels toward Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The National Hurricane Center said. Idalia, with maximum sustained winds of 65mph, was churning in the Caribbean on Monday about 90 miles off Cuba, moving north at 8mph.
The storm is predicted to be Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale when it makes landfall in northern Florida’s Big Bend area, where the panhandle transitions into the peninsula.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during a news conference said “All Floridians, you need to be executing your plans,” “This is going to be a major hurricane. This is going to be a powerful hurricane and this is absolutely going to impact the state of Florida.”
“Keep in mind, if you are told to evacuate, you do not need to drive hundreds of miles, you do not need to leave the state of Florida. You basically need to go to higher ground” he added.
DeSantis issued a state of emergency for 46 Florida counties covering most of the northern part of the state. Some 5,500 members of the National Guard were mobilised, with 2,400 high-water vehicles and a dozen aircraft deployed for rescue and recovery efforts.
DeSantis said thousands of electric workers have been staged to help restore power quickly after the storm passes, and the state has about 3 million gallons of drinking water and 1.5 million meals ready to hand out to people in need after the storm.