Hurricane Idalia set to bring ‘catastrophic’ storm surge to Florida

The US Hurricane Center has warned that Hurricane Idalia is set to bring a “catastrophic” storm surge and destructive winds to Florida this morning (August 30).

The storm is expected to strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane and is forecast to make landfall at the state’s northern panhandle on Wednesday morning local time (about noon GMT).

Heavy rain and strong winds are also expected in North and South Carolina and Georgia.

Twenty-eight of Florida’s 67 counties are under some form of evacuation order, mostly along the state’s upper Gulf Coast.

Port Canaveral on Florida’s eastern Atlantic coast has closed because of predicted “sustained gale force winds”. Reports say no cruise ships are due to visit today.

Meanwhile, theme parks in Orlando remain open but have announced some attraction closures because of the weather.

Walt Disney World has shut Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park and miniature golf courses for Wednesday.

Universal Orlando Resort theme parks, including Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Volcano Bay, are planning to open and operate as normal but will not offer their usual Early Park Admission benefits.

Tampa International Airport closed on Tuesday and will stay shut until it can assess any damage later in the week.

Florida’s second biggest airport, Orlando International, does not foresee any “significant impact” to its operation but said flight delays and cancellations are likely to occur because of heavy rainfall and strong winds.

The UK Foreign Office issued a warning for travellers to Florida, urging them check updates on the Florida Disaster website and the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s twitter feed.

MoreFlorida on alert as ‘extremely dangerous major hurricane’ approaches

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