Floridians are bracing themselves as they prepare for a potential hurricane after Tropical Storm Idalia formed. With the state of emergency declared for parts of Florida and two-thirds of the state under evacuation orders, residents are taking the necessary precautions to ensure their safety. The National Weather Service is warning that Idalia could reach major hurricane strength, possibly a category three, before making landfall. President Biden has offered federal assistance for storm preparations and cleanup, and more than 1,100 National Guard members have already been activated. Supplies are running out quickly, with residents grabbing the last few remaining gallons of water and filling sandbags to protect their homes. Officials are urging people to get to higher ground and stay in safe locations that can handle a hurricane of this magnitude. With memories of Hurricane Ian last year, which caught many off-guard, the message is clear: Florida’s Gulf Coast residents need to remain alert and prepared for the potential impact of Idalia.
State of Emergency Declared
Parts of Florida under state of emergency
Preparing for major hurricane
Tropical Storm Idalia forecasted to reach major hurricane strength
We are facing a potentially dangerous situation here in Florida. Two-thirds of the state is now under a state of emergency as we prepare for a major hurricane within the next 36 hours. The National Weather Service has warned that Tropical Storm Idalia is likely to strengthen to at least a Category 3 hurricane. Currently, the storm is stalled over Cuba in the Caribbean, being fueled by warm waters as it continues on its path towards Florida’s Gulf Coast. Millions of residents in the Sunshine State have been placed under evacuation orders, and Governor Ron DeSantis is urging everyone to find higher ground and seek shelter in locations capable of handling a hurricane of this magnitude. We have also learned that President Biden has offered the assistance of the federal government for storm preparations and cleanup. As a precautionary measure, nearly 1100 National Guard members have been activated and sandbag locations have been opened to help residents prepare for the impending catastrophic storm surge.
Timeline of the Storm
Position of Tropical Storm Idalia in the Caribbean
Stalled over Cuba
Path towards Florida’s Gulf Coast
Currently, Tropical Storm Idalia is located in the Caribbean. However, it has been stalled over Cuba, allowing it to gather strength and intensity. The warm waters in the area are fueling the storm as it continues on its path towards Florida’s Gulf Coast. This poses a significant threat to the state and underscores the urgency of the situation. It is crucial for residents to stay informed and follow the guidance of local authorities to ensure their safety.
Evacuation Orders and Preparations
Millions in Florida under evacuation orders
Governor Ron DeSantis urges residents to find higher ground
President Biden offers federal government assistance
In response to the approaching storm, millions of residents in Florida have been placed under evacuation orders. Governor Ron DeSantis has stressed the importance of finding higher ground and seeking shelter in safe locations capable of withstanding the impact of a major hurricane. The federal government, under the leadership of President Biden, has also offered assistance to Florida for storm preparations and cleanup. This collaborative effort aims to ensure the safety and well-being of all residents in the face of this potentially devastating natural disaster.
Activation of National Guard
Nearly 1100 National Guard members activated
Sandbag locations open for storm preparation
As part of the preparedness efforts, nearly 1100 National Guard members have been activated to assist in emergency response and support operations. Their presence will be crucial in providing aid and ensuring the safety of residents during and after the storm. Additionally, various sandbag locations have been opened to help residents prepare for the expected storm surge. By providing access to sandbags, officials aim to mitigate the impact of flooding and safeguard communities against potential damage.
Current Conditions in Pinellas County
Pinellas County Officials taking precautions
Mandatory evacuation orders in place
Residents urged to find safer locations
Pinellas County officials are taking no chances as they prepare for the impending storm. Nearly 36 hours before the storm is projected to make landfall, some areas have already been placed under mandatory evacuation orders. It is crucial for residents in these areas to comply with the orders and seek safer locations. The first major hurricane of the year in Florida, this storm is expected to bring strong winds and life-threatening storm surge. Officials are working tirelessly to ensure the safety of all residents, and it is imperative that everyone follows their guidance and takes the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Anticipated Impact of the Storm
First major hurricane of the year in Florida
Strong winds and life-threatening storm surge expected
Potential power outage and supply shortage
This upcoming storm marks the first major hurricane of the year in Florida. As it approaches, strong winds and a life-threatening storm surge are expected to impact the Gulf Coast. These conditions pose significant risks to the safety and well-being of residents in the affected areas. Additionally, there is a possibility of power outages and supply shortages, further exacerbating the challenges faced by communities. It is crucial for individuals to prepare accordingly by stocking up on essential supplies, ensuring their homes are secure, and having emergency plans in place to ensure their safety during and after the storm.
Preparations among Residents
Residents filling sandbags
Stocking up on essential supplies
Keeping gas tanks at least half full
In light of the approaching storm, residents across Florida are actively preparing for its arrival. Many are filling sandbags to fortify their homes and protect against potential flooding. Additionally, residents are stocking up on essential supplies such as food, water, and medical necessities to sustain themselves during and after the storm. It is also advised to keep gas tanks at least half full to ensure access to fuel in the event of an evacuation or extended power outage. By taking these proactive measures, individuals can better navigate the challenges posed by the storm and ensure their safety and well-being.
Gas Contamination Concerns
Gas contamination at 29 gas stations in Florida
Impact on fuel availability for evacuation
Tampa International Airport closure
Unfortunately, amidst the preparations, concerns have emerged regarding gas contamination at 29 gas stations in Florida. This contamination poses a potential threat to fuel availability, which is especially critical for those under evacuation orders. The contaminated gas may affect the ability of residents to safely and efficiently evacuate affected areas. Furthermore, Tampa International Airport has announced its closure from midnight until after the storm passes. These developments highlight the importance of alternative arrangements and preparedness measures for residents in the affected areas.
Reminders and Alerts
Importance of staying alert
Potential for storm track change
Need for preparedness and caution
As the storm approaches, it is crucial to remain vigilant and stay informed. Conditions can rapidly change, and it is essential to stay updated on the latest developments through official channels, local news, and emergency alerts. Additionally, there is always a potential for storm track changes, which can significantly impact the areas under threat. Therefore, preparedness and caution should be exercised at all times. It is recommended to follow the guidance of local authorities, adhere to evacuation orders, and take the necessary precautions to protect oneself and others.
Florida is bracing itself for the potential impact of Tropical Storm Idalia, which is expected to reach major hurricane strength before making landfall on the Gulf Coast. With millions of residents under evacuation orders and preparations underway, the state and its residents are united in their efforts to ensure safety and minimize damage. Through proactive measures and collaboration between local, state, and federal authorities, we strive to mitigate the impact of the storm and protect the well-being of all individuals in the affected areas. It is crucial for residents to take the necessary precautions, stay informed, and prioritize their safety in the face of this imminent threat.
We have declared a state of emergency for parts of Florida as Tropical Storm Idalia forms and moves towards the state’s Gulf Coast. Idalia is expected to become a major hurricane before it reaches land. Find out more on the CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell, airing every weekday at 6:30 p.m. ET on the CBS Television Network and at 12 a.m. ET on the CBS News app. Subscribe to the CBS Evening News YouTube channel for the latest updates. Stay informed and stay safe.