Tropical Storm Idalia strengthens off Cuba, barrels toward Florida

MIAMI -Tropical Storm Idalia strengthened as it passed by the western tip of Cuba on Monday, taking aim at the Gulf coast of Florida as forecasters predicted it could become a hurricane “at any time.” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis warned the storm -- likely to make landfall there as a major hurricane by Wednesday -- could have major impacts along the Gulf of Mexico, telling a news conference that evacuations would take place and residents should prepare. “The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in an 11 pm (0300 GMT) update.

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