Editor’s note: This updates with Dry Tortugas National Park closing.
As Tropical Storm Idalia turned into a hurricane Monday, units of the National Park System from Florida to Georgia were preparing for the storm.
Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida and Fort Pulaski National Monument and Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia closed Monday ahead of the storm, and Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas national monuments in Florida planned to close Tuesday.
The storm prompted the National Hurricane Center to issue a tropical storm warning for Dry Tortugas. Heavy rains and winds above 39 mph were forecast for the park.
“Interests along the southeastern U.S. coast should monitor the progress of this system. Additional watches and warnings along the southeast United States coast will likely be required later tonight or on Tuesday,” the Hurricane Center said Monday afternoon.
Officials at Fort Pulaski and Cumberland Island, which the storm was expected to reach by Wednesday, said their parks were closing Monday to allow for crews to “finish preparations for expected impacts from Hurricane Idalia.”
“A mandatory evacuation is in place. All campers, visitors, staff, and volunteers must depart the island by 5 p.m. on August 28, 2023,” read a statement from Cumberland Island. “The last boat departing the island is at 4:45 p.m. from the Sea Camp dock.”
There is “[H]igh confidence of life-threatening storm surge on our beaches, severe beach erosion, high tide flooding, wind, and rain,” the national seashore staff added. “Our area is currently under a tropical storm warning and a storm surge warning, along with a coastal flood advisory and rip current statement.”