Hurricane Idalia Expected to Become Category 4

Hurricane Idalia
Credit: Wikicommons

Hurricane Idalia is preparing to batter Florida’s western Gulf Coast later this morning. The storm was projected to intensify Monday but remained relatively mild. On Tuesday, Idalia intensified as it made its way passed Cuba and back out to sea en route to Florida.

Hurricane Idalia catagory 4

Credit: National Hurricane Center

The storm continues to gain strength and experts now suggest Hurricane Idalia will strengthen to a category 4 by the time it reaches the Florida coastline later this morning. A category 4 hurricane is any cyclonic (spinning) storm with a sustained speed of 130-156 mph. Major hurricane status is achieved at category 3 or higher.

The storm is expected to make landfall at 7:00 am. Strong gusts of wind, dangerous lightning, and heavy rainfall have already reached the shores as of 2:00 am.

As Hurricane Idalia nears Florida, its path becomes more clear. The storm is sent to strike the Big Bend region (the area just below the Panhandle on the Northern part of the state). From there it will move across Florida quickly and attack Georgia and the Carolinas. 

Hurricane Idalia

Credit: NOAA

Governor Ron DeSantis has urged residents in the impact zone to evacuate and has activated the National Guard to help restore power and assist in recovery and rescue efforts.

Evacuation notices have been issued for 28 Florida counties. Eight of those notices are mandatory evacuation orders. DeSantis warned, “”If you do choose to stay in one of the evacuation zones, first responders will not be able to get you until after the storm has passed.”

Ron DeSantis

Credit: Office of the Governor

The storm is, thankfully, moving quickly. Hurricane Idalia is moving much faster than Hurricane Ian, which dumped rain on the state for days, causing severe flooding. Hurricane Idalia will make its way across the north part of the state as the day progresses.

As of now, all Orlando area theme parks, including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, plan to remain open during Hurricane Idalia. They will be watching the storm closely, though, and that could change at a moment’s notice. Orlando International Airport (MCO) currently remains open as well, though Tampa International Airport (TPA) is closed today (Tuesday, August 28, 2023) and will remain closed until the storm has passed.

Stay tuned right here to Disney Dining, and make sure to follow our Facebook page. We will keep a close eye on the storm and will make sure to keep you updated with accurate information as soon as it becomes available.


About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.