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Climate News: Hurricane Idalia’s Projected Path and Heightened Threat Potential

Idalia, previously a tropical storm, has been upgraded to a hurricane after causing extensive flooding and landslides in Cuba. It is expected to hit Florida in the early hours of Wednesday, putting 14 million people at risk. What makes Idalia more dangerous is the rapid intensification it is experiencing due to high sea temperatures. It is forecasted to make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on Florida’s northwestern coast, bringing heavy rain and winds exceeding 110mph. The storm will then move eastwards across the state, reaching the border with Georgia later in the day. Storm surge warnings have been issued for Tampa Bay and the ‘Big Bend’ area of Florida, with up to 12ft of floodwater expected. In Cuba, Idalia brought heavy rain and wind, causing evacuations and further damage to areas still recovering from Hurricane Ian. Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency in 46 counties and evacuation orders have been issued in 21 counties. The National Guard is on standby to assist with rescue efforts. The rapid intensification of Idalia can be attributed to climate change and increasing sea temperatures. This phenomenon has become more common as storms gain strength faster than before. The warm seawater in the Gulf of Mexico provides the energy needed for storms to strengthen. Although unlikely to collide, Hurricane Franklin and Idalia are headed in different directions, with the former heading towards Bermuda.

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