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Hurricane Idalia to make historic Big Bend landfall in Florida

Ryan’s Hurricane Idalia update

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Hurricane Idalia has strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph and a minimum pressure of 972 millibars.

Rapid intensification is in the beginning stages of Hurricane Idalia. The storm is projected to make it to at least Category 3 status with winds of at least 115 mph prior to landfall on Wednesday morning. It could easily be stronger with the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico fueling it.

Most storms make achieve major hurricane status undergo rapid intensification at some point. Rapid intensification is defined by an increase in maximum winds of a tropical cyclone of at least 35 mph in 24 hours.

Landfall point seems pretty locked in near Apalachee Bay, but any wobbles in the track will have a large impact on the communities in the way of the system.

Unprecedented nature of this event

There has never been a major hurricane to make landfall in Apalachee Bay, according to the National Weather Service in Tallahassee. Through the Nature Coast or the Big Bend region of Florida, only a few storms stack up to the potential of Hurricane Idalia. The Big Bend is generally described as the area where Florida’s panhandle transitions into the state’s peninsula.

Since 1851, the only major hurricanes generally in this vicinity were Hurricane Easy in 1950 and the 1896 Cedar Keys Hurricane.

This storm will truly be life-altering for these communities where storm surge could be in the 10- to 15-foot range.

Even though Tampa, Florida, is not within the cone, impacts are still very much in play. These areas could still see from 4-7 feet of surge.

Storm surge will be the worst south and east of the center of the storm where on-shore wind will be the strongest. Unfortunately, many areas that will be impacted the most are low-lying in the Big Bend.

Beyond, landfall on Wednesday, the storm will still bring impacts up the Carolina coast before meandering in the Atlantic.