Hurricane Idalia Called ‘Unprecedented Event’ by National Weather Service – Watch the Devastation
Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida on Wednesday morning as a Category 3 storm, bringing with it “catastrophic” storm surge and damaging winds. The storm caused widespread flooding and power outages, and at least one death has been reported.
Idalia is the strongest hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Michael in 2018. The storm made landfall near Keaton Beach, about 90 miles from Tallahassee, with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center warned of “life-threatening” storm surge of up to 16 feet along the coast.
Idalia, called “an unprecedented event” by the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, is the most powerful storm to hit Florida’s Big Bend in over 125 years, triggering evacuation orders affecting tens of thousands of people.
Idalia reached the speed of 156 mph as a Category 4 storm in the Gulf of Mexico before hitting land, but dropped in intensity. The National Hurricane Center explained the storm changed because of an eyewall replacement cycle. “This change in wind speed does not diminish the threat of catastrophic storm surge and damaging winds,” the NHC stated, warning that the storm surge could reach 12-16 feet.
“There will be impacts far beyond the eyewall,” Governor Ron DeSantis told a press conference in Tallahassee on Wednesday morning, noting that the area has already seen 11 tornado warnings, with more possible. “Don’t put your life at risk by doing anything dumb at this point,” the governor urged. “This thing’s powerful. If you’re inside just hunker down until it gets past.”
The storm surge inundated coastal communities, flooding homes and businesses. In Apalachicola, the water rose to the roofs of some buildings. In St. Augustine, the Castillo de San Marcos was flooded for the first time in its 450-year history.
Idalia also brought damaging winds to inland areas. In Tallahassee, winds knocked down trees and power lines, leaving thousands of people without power.
The storm is expected to weaken as it moves inland, but it is still expected to bring heavy rain and flooding to the Southeast.
Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for all of Florida. He urged residents to stay safe and to heed the warnings of local officials.
“This is an unprecedented event,” DeSantis said. “We need everyone to take this seriously.”
Here's the full video of the destruction of the Horseshoe Beach, FL camera moments ago. This camera was at least 10 feet above sea level. Waves were overtaking this camera during its final moments. https://t.co/y3ZAok0Ft0 pic.twitter.com/JUu8JGZwQG
— RadarOmega (@RadarOmega) August 30, 2023