Tuesday Morning Hurricane Idalia Update
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Hurricane Idalia is located north of the Western tip of Cuba. Northerly motion picked up last night and will continue to accelerate today to the north northeast by the day’s end and northeast into tonight.
High pressure to the west of Idalia is forecast to nose the system to the north northeast today with the help of a deepening trough across the Northern Gulf Coast. Tonight into Wednesday the storm’s path is forecast to continue a northeasterly movement with the trough providing southeasterly steering winds to the west and a ridge of high pressure around the Bahamas pulling the storm up to the north and rounding the ridge to the northeast.
Idalia is still forecast to rapidly intensify to a Category 3 Hurricane later today due in part to very warm waters that lie ahead of this system, low shear, and a more moist environment.
Drier air is present to the western side of the storm, limiting the rain convection to the western side of the storm’s center. Higher shear picks up along the Northern Gulf Coast later tonight into Wednesday morning. Shear on the western side of the storm would ultimately lower the extent impacts felt on the west side of the system’s track. The main impacts will be felt from the Apalachicola River and to the east.
If the storm tracks more toward Steinhatchee or Cedar key, or along the center of the cone to the eastern side of the cone then we’d likely only see Franklin County affected with strong tropical storm force to low category 1 conditions. Winds of 35 to 75mph would be possible with surge at 2-4ft and rain of 1-2″.
If the storm were to track more toward Carrabelle or Aligator Point on the western most edge of the cone then stronger hurricane force conditions would be the case for Franklin county and even tropical storm force conditions would be possible in Gulf and Liberty counties. Winds in Franklin County could reach as high as cat2 or 3 from 110 to 120 from Apalachicola to Carrabelle, and 58-73mph winds across Gulf and Liberty counties. Rain totals would rise to 3-5″ across Gulf, Liberty, and Franklin counties. Storm surge could reach 3-5′+ in Franklin County.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Franklin County as well as a Storm Surge Warning. Tropical Storm Warnings extend inland to Gulf and Liberty Countes.
The rest of NWFL, especially west of the Apalachicola River , would see little to no impacts other than a breezy day and some scattered storms. Off shore winds across the Panhandle would make for no storm surge. Winds may only reach gusts up to 20-25mph if the storm tracks along the center of the cone or to the east. If it ends up on the western side into Franklin county then winds could reach up to 30-40mph along Hwy231, 20-30mph to the west toward 331, 10-20mph west of 331.
Of course, changes in track can lead toward differences in the ultimate impacts. A landfall closer to Franklin County would increase impacts to the viewing area especially east of the Apalachicola River as layed out above. Stay abreast of the storms track today and tomorrow and make necessary preparations as more information becomes available today on the storm.
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