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Meteorologists expect heavy rains in western Cuba and the states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
On Tuesday, Hurricane Idalia is dumping rain and wind on Cuba and the Florida Keys as it moves over the Gulf of Mexico. Simultaneously, storm surge from Category 4 Hurricane Franklin is battering Bermuda and the southeastern U.S. coast.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that Category 1 Hurricane Idalia is strengthening and may be an "extremely dangerous" hurricane with storm surge, strong winds and torrential rains before it makes landfall in Florida on Wednesday.
Idalia is now displaying maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, even less strong than Franklin's 130 mph, whose center is expected to pass northwest of Bermuda on Wednesday.
Currently, Franklin is about 370 miles west-southwest of that British territory and is moving at 9 miles per hour in a north-northeast direction. Its strong winds extend up to 35 miles from its center and tropical storm force winds up to 150 miles.
Idalia is the first hurricane expected to hit the US this year, and record warm ocean temperatures are making it stronger. Here's a look at how hurricanes form, and the factors affecting their intensity @WSJhttps://t.co/sQSmgJNA1c
Unlike Idalia, Franklin will gradually weaken over the next few days but remains dangerous due to the swells and undertow it produces off Bermuda and the U.S. southeast coast.
As for Idalia, which is located 135 miles west-southwest of Florida's Dry Tortugas Key and 320 miles south-southwest of Tampa, the greatest danger is storm surge.
Combined with the regular tide, the Idalia-induced storm surge can inundate normally dry coastal areas, with sea level rises of up to 12 feet along the stretch of the Florida coast along the Gulf of Mexico from the mouth of the Aucilla River to the town of Chassahowitzka.
After moving away from the western tip of Cuba, Idalia is moving north at 14 miles per hour. Hurricane force winds extend up to 15 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend up to 160 miles.
Virtually the entire west coast of Florida is under storm surge and hurricane warnings. There are also weather warnings for Pinar del Río and the Isla de la Juventud in Cuba.
The forecast track indicates that the center of Idalia will move over the eastern Gulf of Mexico today, making landfall on Wednesday at some point between Longboat Key and Indian Pass, including Tampa Bay. It will then cross the northern Florida peninsula and approach the U.S. east coast on Thursday.
Meteorologists expect heavy rains today in western Cuba and in the states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The rains could cause flooding and landslides.
Waves prompted by Idalia are affecting the southern coast of Cuba and eastern Yucatan in Mexico. Some tornadoes are also possible in locations on the west coast of Florida.