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Tropical storm Idalia strikes Carolinas after Florida landfall

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A motorist passes storm damaged houses in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia on August 31, 2023 in Keaton Beach, Florida. Idalia, which weakened to a tropical storm made landfall at Keaton Beach, Florida as a category 3 hurricane and caused heavy rain and flash flooding. AFP
A motorist passes storm damaged houses in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia on August 31, 2023 in Keaton Beach, Florida. Idalia, which weakened to a tropical storm made landfall at Keaton Beach, Florida as a category 3 hurricane and caused heavy rain and flash flooding. AFP

Tropical Storm Idalia has hit the Carolinas with heavy rain, following its earlier landfall in Florida’s Big Bend region as a powerful Category 3 hurricane. 

Idalia’s impact in the Carolinas included heavy rainfall and potential flash flood risks. 

The storm’s arrival had raised concerns about potentially devastating floods.  However, the Carolinas seem to have been mostly spared from severe damage. The accurate forecasts and evacuation plans played a key role in preventing more significant harm.

The storm, which packed winds of nearly 125 mph, left a trail of damage in its wake in Florida. It arrived on the Gulf Coast of Florida and caused havoc before moving along the Eastern Seaboard.  

The impact of Idalia included strong winds, intense rainfall, and flooding, which led to fallen trees, power outages, and widespread debris. Despite initial concerns, the storm’s effects were not as severe as anticipated.

After battering Florida, Idalia transitioned into a post-tropical cyclone, moving towards the Atlantic Ocean. However, its trailing end continued to drench parts of the Carolinas, with potential for up to 10 inches of rainfall, raising fears of flash floods.

Thankfully, the Carolinas seem to have been mostly spared from the worst of the storm’s impact. While flooding did damage around 40 businesses in North Carolina’s Whiteville, emergency management centres in South Carolina were winding down operations.

Florida’s Big Bend coast, particularly Horseshoe Beach, bore the brunt of Idalia’s force. Videos showed damaged trailer homes and shattered boat docks. Insured property losses in Florida were estimated at around $9.36 billion.

In response, President Joe Biden declared a major disaster for affected Florida counties, with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) teams stepping in. The accuracy of forecasts and evacuation plans played a vital role in minimizing casualties.

While many coastal communities faced significant property damage, residents expressed gratitude for the timely evacuations that helped keep them safe. Despite the challenges ahead, communities are beginning the process of recovery after the passage of Tropical Storm Idalia.

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