When will the bad weather clear after Hurricane Idalia? What to expect across Florida

Chris Bodue paddles through his flooded neighborhood from Hurricane Idalia in Tarpon Springs, Florida on August 30, 2023.

Hurricane Idalia has zipped through Florida. How long will it take for the bad weather to clear?

Idalia’s center moved into southern Georgia, just hours after it made landfall near Keaton Beach on Florida’s west coast as a Category 3 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. Wednesday advisory. The hurricane brought some gloomy and nasty weather — as well as rain, strong winds, tornadoes, and life-threatening storm surge along the west coast.

READ MORE: Power outages, record flooding spread as ‘catastrophic’ Hurricane Idalia leaves Florida

Here’s the forecast by region, according to the National Weather Service.

South Florida

The Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas were largely spared from Idalia. According to the National Weather Service in Miami, the region may see a few strong thunderstorms through Wednesday afternoon and evening, though that’s nothing unusual for the time of year. And it’s steamy hot, with a feels-like temperature of 105 to 110 degrees.

“Closer to home we will still [see] some indirect impacts from Idalia in the form of coastal flooding along the Gulf coast and gusty winds,” NWS Miami said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

South Florida is under a wind advisory, with possible gusts up to 40 mph. There’s also a high risk of rip currents — and a probability of localized flooding — amid high tides known as king tides.

The weather service predicts a 50% chance of showers Wednesday and Thursday, with chances of rain dipping as the week progresses.

The Florida Keys

Much like South Florida, the Keys weren’t heavily affected by Idalia.

The Lower Keys were under a wind advisory Wednesday morning, though winds are expected to decrease into the afternoon. Coastal flood warnings were also in effect for most of the region.

Some parts of the Keys, the NWS in Key West said, may see water levels along the coast that are one to two feet higher than normal due to high tides. There’s also a chance of 40% chance of rain Wednesday, which should drop to 30% on Thursday.

North Florida

By dinnertime Wednesday, people in North Florida can expect a return to normalcy, said Mark Wool, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee.

The weather in the area has improved steadily on Wednesday afternoon. Wind gusts have been downgraded to a tropical storm warning as Idalia traverses southeast Georgia as a Category 1 hurricane. Into the late afternoon, gusts near Tallahassee will continue diminishing in severity.

The region witnessed significant storm surge, with a live camera at Horseshoe Beach being washed away and record-setting flooding at the Keaton Beach gauge, Wool said. By the evening, first responders will be able to get out into the streets to begin clearing trees and assessing damage.

Northeast Florida

Northeast Florida won’t likely clear up until Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Parts of the area are still under a tropical storm warning Wednesday afternoon as Hurricane Idalia rolls into southeast Georgia, according to the NWS in Jacksonville.

The region’s coastline is under flood advisories. Anywhere from one to three feet of storm surge is possible. There’s also a high risk for rip currents, flooding rains and a “favorable” situation for tornadoes.

Rain chance on Wednesday is 70%, with possible thunderstorms into the afternoon. By Thursday, the weather will bounce back to normal as the chance of rain drops to 30% though it may feel as hot as 106 degrees.

Tampa Bay

Good news for the Tampa Bay area: Clearer weather is on the horizon.

The region is still experiencing rain, wind, thunderstorms and coastal flooding from storm surge, but many of these threats will diminish over the course of Wednesday afternoon, said Ali Davis, a meteorologist with the Natiomal Weather Service in Tampa Bay. By the evening, things will slowly return to normal in some areas.

Davis said coastal flooding in the area has been substantial, adding that the area is seeing more flooding than during 2021’s Hurricane Ida. In the early afternoon hours of Wednesday, a high tide will worsen coastal flooding, but as the tide diminishes in the late afternoon and evening, conditions will improve.

The NWS urges the public to assess conditions before returning to routine. If you live along the coast, be wary of flooding in your area.

Central Florida

The weather in Central Florida should return to normal by Wednesday evening, said Jessie Smith, a meteorologist with the NWS in Melbourne, which oversees forecasts for Orlando.

Conditions in the area are already steadily improving, and will continue to do so over the next few hours. The area could still see some strong gusts of wind and thunderstorms passing through, but the worst of the storm is over.

There are no reports of flooding or severe wind damage in the area, Smith said. The highest wind speed that the NWS Melbourne office recorded was a 51 mph gust in Kissimmee, just south of Orlando.

Smith urged residents to be aware of their surroundings as they return to normal Wednesday afternoon and evening.

“We did just get brushed by a major hurricane, so people should just keep that in mind.”