As Hurricane Idalia approaches Florida, Fort Myers is once again experiencing intense flooding less than a year after the devastation of Hurricane Ian. The destruction from last years Category-5 hurricane, still lingers as the town is in danger of being submerged again. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned on Tuesday that Idalia’s waters could engulf much of the keys and outer coastline near Fort Myers. The storm is expected to make landfall Wednesday morning.

 

Idalia currently boasts maximum sustained winds of 90mph, just shy of a Category-2 hurricane, and has triggered numerous tornado warnings across western Florida. A state of emergency has been declared in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina as the storm nears the coast. Although currently a Category-1 hurricane, Idalia is anticipated to escalate to a perilous Category-3 storm by landfall, expected in the early hours of Wednesday. Wind intensity could reach 125mph, just 5mph below Category-4 strength, with hurricane-force winds radiating 15 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds extending up to 160 miles.

Disney World remains operational but is closely monitoring the storm’s trajectory. The NHC cautions that a ‘life-threatening storm surge’ of 10-12 feet is expected across Tampa Bay and Florida’s Big Bend region. Surge peaks are predicted between Chassahowitzka and Aucilla River, and residents are urged to heed local officials’ guidance.

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