Could Hurricane Idalia swing back toward Florida's east coast?

Hurricane Idalia is forecast to strike Florida’s Gulf Coast as a Category 3 major hurricane on Wednesday and then move across the state and southeast U.S. out into the Atlantic. There is at least one model that suggests the storm could loop back toward Florida’s east coast.

The Global Forecast System, or GFS, model, is run by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s one of several the National Hurricane Center uses to predict the three- and five-day storm paths for tropical systems.

According to its models from Tuesday, the GFS predicts Hurricane Idalia could make its way off the coast of the Carolinas and then be dragged back south and then southwest toward Florida’s coast.

Meteorologist Ari Sarsalari with The Weather Channel said it was the lone model among the sundry paths they look at that suggest it would follow that path, and that it would not be a storm of any magnitude at that point.

“It wouldn’t be that big of a deal. I just found it interesting,” he said.

Other models do show it returning for another landfall on the U.S. including the European model that suggests it could come back toward the Carolina.

The reason for the potential return trip west is the steering patterns currently over the U.S. involve a trough that is pulling Idalia now toward Florida’s coast and will shove it out over the Atlantic. But then there will be a large ridge of high pressure over the U.S. that could suck it back in, Sarsalari said.

But again, if it does return, it would do so “not as a strong storm,” he said.