Florida Prepares for Hurricane Idalia

People in the southeastern U.S. state of Florida are preparing for the arrival of what forecasters expect will be a major hurricane when it makes landfall Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Idalia had maximum sustained winds just below the threshold of hurricane strength late Monday, with the National Hurricane Center saying it expected the storm to rapidly strengthen during the day Tuesday.

Hurricane warnings were in effect along a large stretch of Florida’s Gulf Coast, including the city of Tampa.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis warned of a “major impact” to the state and declared a state of emergency in 46 counties.  Authorities encouraged people in 21 counties to evacuate ahead of the storm’s arrival.

President Joe Biden, who spoke by telephone with DeSantis Monday, approved an emergency declaration for the state.

Florida mobilized 1,100 National Guard members to prepare for rescue and recovery efforts.

Before approaching Florida, Idalia brought flooding rains to western Cuba.

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