Here’s what we can expect from Hurricane Idalia

The storm made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane Wednesday morning
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 5:33 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2023 at 12:01 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - We’re inching closer to peak hurricane season in September, and the tropics have proven to be active the last couple of weeks. Hurricane Franklin became the Atlantic’s first major hurricane over the weekend, and Hurricane Idalia made landfall around 7:45am Wednesday in Florida.

Overnight, Idalia strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane (winds 130-156 mph) and then weakened to a Category 3 storm just before making landfall.

As of 12:00pm Wednesday, Idalia is quickly weakening as it tracks northeast. It’s expected to become a tropical storm before impacting several coastal cities Thursday.

Warm ocean temperatures fuel Idalia

Warm ocean temperatures created the perfect fuel for Idalia to tap into, and this year has been warmer than most. A recent reading in Tampa, FL recorded a water temperature of 88 degrees, which is over two degrees warmer than the monthly average.

Warm ocean temperatures have created the perfect fuel for tropical activity.
Warm ocean temperatures have created the perfect fuel for tropical activity.(WDBJ7 Weather)

This allows for rapid storm intensification, which is when a storm’s winds increase at least 35 mph in 24 hours or less. This has become more common in recent years as ocean temperatures have continued to increase.

Here’s what we can expect in Roanoke

Local Idalia Impacts
Local Idalia Impacts(WDBJ7 Weather)

Hurricane Idalia looks to track northeast, centering over several East Coast beaches. Savannah, Georgia will likely experience a weakened version of the storm later Wednesday. By the time Idalia reaches the Carolinas Thursday, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and the lower Outer Banks in North Carolina could see winds up to 60mph.

Beaches will likely see several inches of rain, some areas exceeding 8 inches. Because of this, localized flash flooding is possible as well as an isolated tornado.

This interactive map shows Idalia‘s latest trajectory.

Models show the storm continuing to track east into the Atlantic, and remaining just south of Virginia.

A cold front that passed by overnight Tuesday will push most of the moisture to the east of our region. We should see some cloud cover late Wednesday, with the possibility of a stray shower in the Southside. We also will see breezy conditions throughout the evening. High pressure will allow for us to warm up later this week.

We will continue to monitor Idalia and post updates with new information.

For more resources, check out WDBJ7′s Hurricane Center.