New York: Tropical Storm Idalia, which formed a day before, was expected to strengthen to a Category 2 hurricane by the time it reaches US Florida's Gulf Coast on Tuesday.
Winds were predicted to reach a peak of 100 mph (about 160 kph), Jamie Rhome, Deputy Director of the National Hurricane Centre, said in an update on Sunday evening.
"Evacuations may be necessary for this storm later today or tomorrow," and "the hazards absolutely will extend beyond the cone," he noted.
Idalia, the latest named storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, also threatens to bring heavy rains to Georgia and the Carolinas, The New York Times on Sunday quoted forecasters as saying.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management told residents to keep their gas tanks at least halfway full in case emergency evacuation orders were issued, added the newspaper.
Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida signed an executive order on Saturday declaring a state of emergency in 33 counties in preparation for the storm, Xinhua news agency reported.
Meanwhile, according to Politico, DeSantis cancelled campaign events this week as the major storm bears down on his state and in the aftermath of horror.
"We're locked in on this, we're going to get this job done," DeSantis said at a Sunday press conference, later adding when asked if he's cancelling campaign events: "I am here, I am here."
The Governor is running for the US President and was scheduled to campaign in South Carolina on Monday.
Idalia is expected to make landfall along a sparsely populated stretch and DeSantis said power outages will be a particular concern because it's hitting an area of the state with plenty of tall, heavy-limbed trees.