Idalia strengthening to hurricane as it nears Florida coast

Idalia has sustained winds of 70 mph and is very close to moving into a Category 1 hurricane as it nears Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. ET advisory.

The storm was about 35 miles south-southwest of Cuba.

The lowest sustained wind speed of a Category 1 storm is 74 mph, and the storm has already gained 5 mph since this morning. Life-threatening storm surges and dangerous winds are “increasingly likely” for Florida, the NHC said.