Tropical Storm Idalia has formed near the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba and is expected to strengthen to a hurricane when it enters the Gulf this week, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Sunday morning.
Idalia has winds of 40 mph and is moving east at 2 mph at 10 a.m. CDT. The storm is expected to track north into the Gulf of Mexico and get stronger.
Idalia is forecast to approach Florida’s West Coast by Wednesday morning as a hurricane.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast, including the cities of Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Bay St. Louis and Pascagoula, are not inside the forecast track known as the “cone of uncertainty.” The Biloxi-Gulfport metro may see scattered showers and thunderstorms later this week when a front moves over the area unrelated to Idalia.
Florida has issued a state of emergency for dozens of counties that could be affected by Idalia.
Residents in the Panhandle and the western Gulf Coast of Florida could see life-threatening storm surge as early as Tuesday, the NHC said. Storm surge and hurricane watches could be issued in Florida later Sunday. The Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba are under tropical storm warnings.
Portions of the Southeast, including Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, could also get rain and other severe weather from Idalia later in the week as the system moves inland.
Keep up with the latest tropics updates at hurricanes.gov.