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Category 3+ Hurricane Expected to Hit Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday – What You Need to Know

Tropical Storm Idalia is projected to intensify into a hurricane before hitting Cuba on Monday. Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for 46 of Florida’s 67 counties.

Text the word 'Florida' to (813) 733-5278 to receive more updates straight to your phone on whats going on in the Sunshine State.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Another major Hurricane is expected to hit Florida’s Gulf Coast this week, eleven months after Hurricane Ian devastated the southwestern part of the state in late September 2022.

Tropical Storm Idalia is forecast to be a Category 3 hurricane or stronger when it makes landfall in Florida this week, state officials announced on Monday.

“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 in many, many different ways,” Governor DeSantis said at a press conference on Monday morning. “I urge Floridians to heed the admonitions and heed the directives from your local officials.”

DeSantis added that evacuation orders will be ordered for all Gulf Coast counties in the zones closest to the shore. On Sunday, the governor declared a state of emergency for 33 counties. That number was bumped up to 46 on Monday.

“If you're anywhere north of Tampa Bay all the way up into Apalachicola Bay, you are going to be impacted by this disaster,” Florida’s Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said. “Storm surge can be life threatening at just two to three feet. Some of these areas are going to experience storm surge well over seven foot.”

Florida’s State Emergency Operations Center is operating 24 hours a day monitoring the storm. School closures have already been announced in Hernando, Citrus, Levy County schools, with more expected to be announced soon.

“Keep in mind, if you’re told to evacuate, you do not need to drive hundreds of miles. You do not need to leave the state of Florida,” the governor noted. “You basically need to go to higher ground. In almost every instance, you can go tens of miles to a shelter, to a hotel, to a friend’s house – whatever works for you.”

DeSantis said tens of thousands of linemen will be “staged and surged,” ready to serve the impacted areas, but noted that power outages are likely inevitable given the storm’s projected strength.

“Floridians in the path of this storm: just be prepared to lose power,” he said. “This is going to come in, if it’s Cat 3+ there’s going to be a lot of trees that are going to get knocked down. There’s going to be a lot of debris that is going to interrupt the power lines. So just understand that is something that’s going to happen.”

In addition to the linemen, DeSantis said 15 tankers and 35 bobtail trucks are headed toward Central Florida with “a couple hundred thousand gallons of fuel” to mitigate potential fuel shortages. The state also has seven urban search and rescue teams ready to deploy to impacted areas.

“We’ll have all these people there that will be able to help everyone get back on their feet,” DeSantis said. “But you’ve got to do what you need to do to protect yourself and your family on the front end.”

The 46 counties currently under a state of emergency include:

  • Alachua
  • Baker
  • Bay
  • Bradford
  • Calhoun
  • Charlotte
  • Citrus
  • Collier
  • Clay
  • Columbia
  • DeSoto
  • Dixie
  • Duval
  • Franklin
  • Gadsden
  • Gilchrist
  • Gulf
  • Hamilton
  • Hardee
  • Hernando
  • Hillsborough
  • Jefferson
  • Lafayette
  • Lake
  • Lee
  • Leon
  • Levy
  • Liberty
  • Madison
  • Manatee
  • Marion
  • Nassau
  • Pasco
  • Pinellas
  • Polk
  • Putnam
  • Sarasota
  • Seminole
  • St. Johns
  • Sumter
  • Suwannee
  • Taylor
  • Union
  • Volusia
  • Wakulla
Text the word 'Florida' to (813) 733-5278 to receive more updates straight to your phone on whats going on in the Sunshine State.