Hurricane Idalia roars toward Florida • Earth.com

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features Hurricane Idalia moving north toward Florida on August 29, 2023. At this time, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported wind speeds of about 85 miles per hour.

The photo was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.

“Idalia roared into the Gulf of Mexico just after midnight local time on August 29, 2023, and within hours, strengthened to a category 1 hurricane,” said NASA.

“The hurricane is forecast to rapidly intensify before slamming into Florida’s coast near Apalachee Bay on the morning of August 30.”

“Officials in Florida issued evacuation orders for 22 counties in the state with mandatory evacuations along the coast of the Big Bend region – where Florida’s panhandle curves to meet the peninsula, and where Idalia is forecasted to make landfall. Dangerous storm surge of up to 10-15 feet above ground-level is forecast in this area, according to the NHC.”

Idalia is expected to intensify into a category 3 storm with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour before making landfall. The storm is fueled by unusually warm sea surface temperatures.

“Waters throughout the eastern Gulf of Mexico remain warmer than 31 degrees C, which is around 1-2 degrees Celsius above average for this date,” said Patrick Duran, a hurricane expert at NASA’s Short-Term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) project, based at Marshall Space Flight Center.

“This very warm water will provide more energy to the storm than would be available if temperatures were closer to average.”

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Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

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