What can we expect from Hurricane Idalia?

Published 12:02 am Thursday, August 31, 2023

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FARMVILLE – Hurricane Idalia is hitting the coast of Florida and heading north. What is coming our way?

According to the National Weather Service in Wakefield, the hurricane is predicted to bring heavy rainfall around and south of the Virginia and North Carolina border and have very strong northeast winds along the coast.

Fortunately, on this predicted track, the Farmville area shouldn’t see much more than a few heavy rain storms. Central Virginia could see some nice weather during Thursday and Friday as the storm passes below, officials say. 

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“Most of the impact in Virginia will be near the border, but mostly we’ll see the effects on the North Carolina side,” said Cody Poche with the National Weather Service in Wakefield.

The current track projects Idalia to turn back out to sea just south of Wilmington, North Carolina as it slows down to a tropical storm. The National Weather Service encourages everyone not to focus too much on the track as it could change at any moment and surrounding areas will still feel some effect. 

What’s after Hurricane Idalia?

At the beginning of August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updated its hurricane prediction for the 2023 season from near normal to above normal. This change comes from current ocean and atmospheric conditions, including record-warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures, which could counterbalance the limiting conditions caused by the current El Niño. 

“This year, the changes typically associated with El Nino appear to be emerging a bit later than initially anticipated,” said Matthew Rosenkrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center during the season outlook update. “So this season could have more activity than foreseen in the May outlook.”

With an above normal hurricane season, NOAA predicts 14 to 21 named storms with winds of 39 mph or greater, six to 11 hurricanes with winds above 74 mph and two to five major hurricanes with winds above 111 mph. The probability of these happening before the end of hurricane season on Thursday, Nov. 30, is a 60% likelihood. These are in reference to the season as a whole and not what will make it to land. 

How to be prepared

Even though Hurricane Idalia isn’t projected to hit us, hurricanes are known to not always do the expected. For those wanting to prepare for Idalia or future hurricanes, there are a few ways to stay prepared. 

When a storm is coming, check your yard to make sure there is nothing that could cause problems with high winds, like large sticks or trees. Make sure to have enough supplies and food to last a week without power. Also, review insurance plans to make sure everything is covered in case of flooding or other damages. 

“No matter the overall activity we urge you to prepare now for the upcoming core of the hurricane season as a single storm can have catastrophic impacts,” said Rosenkrans. “FEMA’s Ready.gov and your local emergency management office are key resources to help you prepare. Preparing now makes for a safer and more resilient community should a storm strike your area.”