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Hurricane Idalia to hit Florida as Category 4 with ‘catastrophic’ storm surge

Hurricane Idalia has intensified into an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm with powerful winds maximum sustained winds of 130 mph ahead of its expected landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast Wednesday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. ET update.

Idalia is now about 60 miles west of Cedar Key and 90 miles south of Tallahassee as it continues on its path toward Florida’s Big Bend, according to the center.

The storm is also speeding up, now moving at 18 mph.

“Idalia could continue to strengthen before it reaches the Big Bend coast of Florida in a few hours,” the hurricane center said.

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Hurricane Idalia has undergone impressive rapid intensification over the past 24 hours, with top winds increasing 55 mph, from a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds to a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds in 24 hours.

The hurricane center added that “while Idalia should weaken after landfall, it is likely to still be a hurricane while moving across southern Georgia, and near the coast of Georgia or southern South Carolina late today.”

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