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UPDATE Tropical Storm Warning Issued for Polk as Hurricane Adalia Approaches

Closest Approach Overnight Tuesday into Wednesday

Series: Weather | Story 7

The National Hurricane Center has issued Hurricane Warnings for much of the Florida west coast north of Longboat Key, and raised the former Tropical Storm Watch in Polk County to a Tropical Storm Warning. Residents of the Lake Wales area can expect gusty winds of up to about 60 mph overnight Tuesday evening, continuing for much of the day on Wednesday before gradually relaxing Wednesday night.

Along with the winds, substantial rains can be anticipated, with up to four inches forecast for our area.

As of 11:00 am Monday Idalia was still a strong Tropical Storm but may undergo a period of rapid intensification once it moves over the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, which are currently as much as four degrees above normal.

The possible rapid intensification of Tropical Storm Idalia into a major Hurricane just off the west coast of Florida has Lake Wales area residents on edge.

A dip in the jet stream is forecast to push Idalia to the east, but that turn is not expected until Wednesday morning, causing it to reach the coast in the Big Bend area, perhaps north of Cedar Key. Three times in the last 19 years similar forecast tracks led to storms that turned east ahead of forecast, causing direct strikes on the Lake Wales area.

Residents are encouraged to complete their preparations for the storm, enacting Hurricane plans. Maintaining supplies of water and canned or dried foods and emergency or solar lighting can provide essential comforts. Filling empty plastic containers to 90 percent full and placing them in empty space in freezers will help sustain frozen foods for longer periods of time in the event of power outages.

Those needing sandbags to guard against possible home flooding can pick them up at Polk Road Maintenance units in Frostproof at 350 County Road 630A, phone (863) 635-7879, or in Dundee at 805 Dr. Martin Luther King St. SW, (863) 421-3367.

Lake Wales will bring fresh updates at least every six hours as we continue to track developments. We use a variety of modelas and software to track conditions in the tropics and bring readers our locally-focused analysis of potential threats. The potential development of this system was predicted by our monitored models two weeks ago, as reported in our story of August 14.

Readers are again reminded to update their Hurricane plans.


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