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

CEDAR KEY, Fla. (AP) — Hurricane Idalia strengthened to a dangerous Category 4 storm Wednesday morning as it steamed toward Florida’s Big Bend region and threatened to unleash life-threatening storm surges and rainfall.

Florida residents living in vulnerable coastal areas were ordered to pack up and leave as Hurricane Idalia gained strength in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and authorities warned of a “catastrophic storm surge and destructive winds” when the storm moves ashore later Wednesday morning.

Idalia was projected to come ashore as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of at least 130 mph (209

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