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You are here News Environment Some hurricanes suddenly explode in intensity, shocking nearly everyone (even forecasters)

Some hurricanes suddenly explode in intensity, shocking nearly everyone (even forecasters)

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Hurricanes 2024Janalea England started the morning of Aug. 29 last year preparing her home and seafood market for Hurricane Idalia. The National Hurricane Center's forecast called for landfall somewhere near Steinhatchee, their small community on the Gulf of Mexico by the next morning.

At their Steinhatchee Fish Market, she brought things in from outside, threw away any older seafood and packed the rest into the freezer, then headed home.

Like many who routinely experience tropical storms and hurricanes, they were somewhat blasé about Idalia, approaching from the Florida Keys with 85 mph winds at that point, England said. "We were preparing to be without power more than anything."

After finishing preparations, England and her daughter rode back through town, blasting “Under the Sea” from Disney's "The Little Mermaid" on the stereo and filming a Facebook live video. Now she wishes she’d saved the videos, to compare what Steinhatchee looked like before the storm.

Between their ride through town and the time Idalia began battering the coast between 3 and 4 the following morning, the storm exploded, becoming a powerful hurricane with 130 mph winds in a phenomenon meteorologists call rapid intensification.

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