Idalia not just a problem for Florida's Gulf Coast

Hurricane-force winds could impact areas hundreds of miles inland from where Idalia comes ashore Wednesday.
Members of the Tampa Parks and Recreation Department in Florida help residents fill sandbags.
Posted at 1:51 PM, Aug 28, 2023

Tropical Storm Idalia is expected to become a hurricane on Monday and come ashore Wednesday as a major hurricane somewhere along the Florida Gulf Coast. 

Although the worst impacts are expected right near the point of landfall, the Florida Gulf Coast will be far from the only locale impacted. 

On Monday, the National Hurricane Center issued tropical storm watches for a swath of the U.S. Atlantic coast from Sebastian Inlet, Florida, northward to Altamaha Sound, Georgia. 

In between the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Idalia could bring tropical storm-like conditions to a wide region. According to the National Hurricane Center, Jacksonville, Florida, has a 62% chance of having tropical storm-force winds. There is even a small chance the area has hurricane-force winds. 

What is the difference between a tropical storm and hurricane?
A person in rain gear looks through the sand at the beach during a storm.

What is the difference between a tropical storm and hurricane?

Although hurricanes have higher winds, tropical storms can sometimes have a bigger impact.


Areas like Waycross, Georgia, and Kings Bay, Georgia, will likely have tropical storm-force winds. Inland hurricane watches were issued for parts of northern Florida and southern Georgia, including areas like Gainesville, Florida; Lake City Florida; and Valdosta, Georgia. These areas are being told to prepare for winds of 74 mph to 110 mph, along with flooding rain. 

It is also quite likely that parts of the South Carolina and North Carolina coasts will experience tropical storm conditions. 

"Areas of flash and urban flooding, some of which may be locally significant, are expected across portions of the west coast of Florida, the Florida Panhandle, and southern Georgia Tuesday into Wednesday, spreading into portions of the eastern Carolinas  Wednesday into Thursday," the National Hurricane Center said in its forecast discussion. 

After spending much of Wednesday over Florida, Idalia is expected to move along the Atlantic coast, impacting areas from northeast Florida all the way north to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Its intensity will largely depend on whether the center remains over land or over the ocean.