Gov. DeSantis extends state of emergency for Hurricane Idalia to 49 counties

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The storm continues to intensify and is forecast to reach at least 120 mph winds before making landfall.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued a new executive order increasing the number of counties under a state of emergency to 49.

The move comes as Hurricane Idalia moves into the Gulf of Mexico, with forecasters predicting it will become a Category 3 storm before making landfall.

Counties now covered under the emergency order include: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Calhoun, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia and Wakulla.

The fact that 49 of Florida 67 counties now fall under the order demonstrates the size and threat of the storm. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) as of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 29, reported maximum sustained storm winds of 85 mph.

But forecasts show winds will reach at least 120 mph later in the day, with Idalia expected to make landfall in the Big Bend on Wednesday morning.

The storm path has remained consistent over days, but a hurricane warning covers most of the Gulf Coast of Florida and forecasters say a greater area could suffer from storm surge.

As of the latest NHC advisory, a hurricane warning remained in effect from mid-Longboat Key in Southwest Florida north and west to Indian Pass in the Florida Panhandle. Areas as far south as Englewood are under a storm surge warning. Areas as far south as Chokoloskee are under tropical storm warning, as are areas as far west as Mexico Beach.

The storm notably is expected to stay at hurricane strength as it traverses Florida, and tropical storm warnings are also in place on Florida’s Atlantic coast from Sebastian Inlet north to South Santee River in South Carolina.

The most recent advisories show the storm 120 miles west of the Dry Tortugas and 275 miles south-southwest of Tampa Bay.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Mary E Locklear

    August 31, 2023 at 9:17 pm

    No power for couple hours finally go back on power thank you. I am on oxygen air machine and full disabled.

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