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Idalia expected to become a Category 3 hurricane as it heads toward Florida

Tropical Storm Idalia is expected to intensify into a Category 3 hurricane, bringing life-threatening surges and flooding to Florida when it hits later this week.

Forecasters expect the storm to become a hurricane on Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico, and then curve northeast toward the west coast of Florida. As of 4 a.m. CDT, the storm is packing maximum sustained winds of 60 mph as the Gulf’s warm waters will provide fuel for the system to pick up more speed.

So far this hurricane season, south Mississippi has been mostly protected from tropical activity by an expansive dome of hot high pressure. But that pattern may change as the high backs off to the west with a stalling cool front approaching from the north.

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