Tropical Storm Idalia forms in the Gulf of Mexico
Storm surge and hurricane watches have been issued for portions of the Florida Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Idalia is forecast to become a hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said. 

The NHC issued a storm surge watch Sunday afternoon for the Gulf Coast from Chokoloskee to Indian Pass, and a hurricane watch from Englewood to Indian Pass. Both watches include Tampa Bay.

A tropical storm watch was also issued for the Gulf Coast south of Englewood to Chokoloskee, and for the Dry Tortugas, NHC said in its latest public advisory.

By Sunday afternoon, Idalia was moving northeast at nearly 3 mph, according to the NHC.

“A slow, possibly erratic, motion is expected overnight,” the NHC said.

The center of Idalia will move over the eastern Gulf of Mexico on Monday and Tuesday and approach the northeast Gulf Coast late Tuesday.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph. It’s expected to strengthen into a hurricane over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by early Tuesday, according to the NHC.

“There is an increasing risk of life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds along portions of the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle beginning as early as Tuesday,” the NHC said.

Flooding from heavy rainfall will be likely in portions of the southeast U.S. by mid to late week.

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