FLORIDA – First responders in Florida’s Gulf Coast and Panhandle are bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Idalia, which is projected to pound the region Wednesday morning.
The National Hurricane Center warns that Idalia, currently a Category 1 storm, is “forecast to be a major hurricane when it reaches the Gulf Coast of Florida Wednesday morning.”
The Sarasota Police Department released video footage from Ed Smith Stadium — home to the Baltimore Orioles spring training facility — of local residents making sand bags as part of their preparations for the hurricane, Fox Weather reported.
“The first part of today is your last chance to take action to make your situation better after the storm has passed,” FOX Weather hurricane specialist Bryan Norcross said. “Look around. Pick up things that can blow in the wind. Park your car on high ground, away from trees, or in protected places. Have a way to charge your cellphone from your car.”
At least 46 counties in Florida are under a state of emergency as of early Tuesday afternoon, with 23 issuing evacuation orders due to fears that a storm surge of up to 15 feet could flood coastal communities, according to FOX Weather.
“Hurricane Idalia will likely be an unprecedented event for many locations in the Florida Big Bend. Looking back through recorded history, NO major hurricanes have ever moved through the Apalachee Bay,” the National Weather Service’s Tallahassee office said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “When you try to compare this storm to others, DON’T. No one has seen this.”