World

Hurricane Idalia unleashes fury on Florida and Georgia, swamping wide stretch of coast

[ad_1]

  • This photo provided by FDOT shows flooded interstate 275 Over Tampa Bay, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. Hurricane Idalia steamed toward Florida's Big Bend region as a dangerous Category 4 storm Wednesday morning, threatening deadly storm surges and destructive winds in an area not accustomed to such pummeling.


    This photo provided by FDOT shows flooded interstate 275 Over Tampa Bay, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. Hurricane Idalia steamed toward Florida’s Big Bend region as a dangerous Category 4 storm Wednesday morning, threatening deadly storm surges and destructive winds in an area not accustomed to such pummeling.
    (FDOT via AP)

  • Tybee Island, Ga., resident Bryan Moore helps his friend board up his house on the island, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, ahead of Hurricane Idalia.


    Tybee Island, Ga., resident Bryan Moore helps his friend board up his house on the island, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, ahead of Hurricane Idalia.
    (Stephen B. Morton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

  • In this photo taken with a drone, businesses are seen along 2nd Street in Cedar Key, Fla., ahead of the expected arrival of Hurricane Idalia, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. Several local residents said they planned to ride out the storm at the Cedar Inn Motel, with red roof, lower left.


    In this photo taken with a drone, businesses are seen along 2nd Street in Cedar Key, Fla., ahead of the expected arrival of Hurricane Idalia, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. Several local residents said they planned to ride out the storm at the Cedar Inn Motel, with red roof, lower left.

  • A man carries a dog as he wades through a street flooded by rains brought on by Hurricane Idalia, in Batabano, Cuba, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. Idalia strengthened into a hurricane Tuesday and barreled toward Florida's Gulf Coast.


    A man carries a dog as he wades through a street flooded by rains brought on by Hurricane Idalia, in Batabano, Cuba, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. Idalia strengthened into a hurricane Tuesday and barreled toward Florida’s Gulf Coast.

  • Residents wade through a street flooded by rains brought on by Hurricane Idalia, in Batabano, Cuba, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. Idalia strengthened into a hurricane Tuesday and barreled toward Florida's Gulf Coast.


    Residents wade through a street flooded by rains brought on by Hurricane Idalia, in Batabano, Cuba, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. Idalia strengthened into a hurricane Tuesday and barreled toward Florida’s Gulf Coast.

  • People kayak past an abandon vehicle in the intersection of Boca Ciega Drive and Pasadena Avenue Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023 in St. Pete Beach, Fla.,  Hurricane Idalia made landfall Wednesday in Florida as a Category 3 storm and unleashed devastation along a wide stretch of the Gulf Coast, submerging homes and vehicles, turning streets into rivers, unmooring small boats and downing power lines in an area that has never before received such a pummeling. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)


    People kayak past an abandon vehicle in the intersection of Boca Ciega Drive and Pasadena Avenue Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023 in St. Pete Beach, Fla., Hurricane Idalia made landfall Wednesday in Florida as a Category 3 storm and unleashed devastation along a wide stretch of the Gulf Coast, submerging homes and vehicles, turning streets into rivers, unmooring small boats and downing power lines in an area that has never before received such a pummeling. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

  • A group wades into a flooded Beach Boulevard near 31st Avenue, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Gulfport, Fla., as Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the Big Bend region. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)


    A group wades into a flooded Beach Boulevard near 31st Avenue, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Gulfport, Fla., as Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the Big Bend region. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

  • A man runs across flooded Bayshore Blvd., from the storm surge associated with Hurricane Idalia Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. Idalia made landfall earlier this morning along the Big Bend of the state.


    A man runs across flooded Bayshore Blvd., from the storm surge associated with Hurricane Idalia Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. Idalia made landfall earlier this morning along the Big Bend of the state.

  • Flood waters pushed by Hurricane Idalia pour over the sea wall along Old Tampa Bay as paddle boarder Zeke Pierce, of Tampa rides Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. Idalia made landfall earlier this morning along the Big Bend of the state.


    Flood waters pushed by Hurricane Idalia pour over the sea wall along Old Tampa Bay as paddle boarder Zeke Pierce, of Tampa rides Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. Idalia made landfall earlier this morning along the Big Bend of the state.

  • FILE - A large tanker rests on wrecked boats, Sept. 16, 2004, at Brown's Marina in Bayou Chico in Pensacola, Fla. Hurricanes beginning with the letter "I" have been among the most destructive to strike the United States, moreso than any other letter of the alphabet. Idalia is on a path to strike Florida's Gulf Coast as a major hurricane to join the long list of catastrophic examples. (Douglas R. Clifford/St. Petersburg Times, File)


    FILE – A large tanker rests on wrecked boats, Sept. 16, 2004, at Brown’s Marina in Bayou Chico in Pensacola, Fla. Hurricanes beginning with the letter “I” have been among the most destructive to strike the United States, moreso than any other letter of the alphabet. Idalia is on a path to strike Florida’s Gulf Coast as a major hurricane to join the long list of catastrophic examples. (Douglas R. Clifford/St. Petersburg Times, File)

  • Zeke Pierce rides his paddle board down the middle of a flooded Bayshore Blvd in downtown in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023.  Hurricane Idalia steamed toward Florida’s Big Bend region Wednesday morning, threatening deadly storm surges and destructive winds in an area not accustomed to such pummeling.


    Zeke Pierce rides his paddle board down the middle of a flooded Bayshore Blvd in downtown in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. Hurricane Idalia steamed toward Florida’s Big Bend region Wednesday morning, threatening deadly storm surges and destructive winds in an area not accustomed to such pummeling.

  • This image provided by NOAA shows shows Hurricane Idalia over Florida's Gulf Coast on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (NOAA via AP)


    This image provided by NOAA shows shows Hurricane Idalia over Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (NOAA via AP)

  • Visitors to the Southernmost Point buoy brave the waves made stronger from Hurricane Idalia on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, in Key West, Fla. Feeding on some of the hottest water on the planet, Hurricane Idalia is expected to rapidly strengthen as it bears down on Florida and the rest of the Gulf Coast, scientists said. (Rob O'Neal/The Key West Citizen via AP)


    Visitors to the Southernmost Point buoy brave the waves made stronger from Hurricane Idalia on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, in Key West, Fla. Feeding on some of the hottest water on the planet, Hurricane Idalia is expected to rapidly strengthen as it bears down on Florida and the rest of the Gulf Coast, scientists said. (Rob O’Neal/The Key West Citizen via AP)

  • Shore Boulevard in front of O'Maddy's Bar & Grille is seen in floodwaters as Hurricane Idalia made landfall Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Gulfport, Fla. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)


    Shore Boulevard in front of O’Maddy’s Bar & Grille is seen in floodwaters as Hurricane Idalia made landfall Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Gulfport, Fla. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

  • Flood waters pushed by Hurricane Idalia pour over the sea wall along Old Tampa Bay as paddle boarder Zeke Pierce, of Tampa rides Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. Idalia made landfall earlier this morning along the Big Bend of the state.


    Flood waters pushed by Hurricane Idalia pour over the sea wall along Old Tampa Bay as paddle boarder Zeke Pierce, of Tampa rides Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. Idalia made landfall earlier this morning along the Big Bend of the state.

  • A man walks his motorcycle to Desoto Park after attempting to ride through an impassable South Bermuda Boulevard at Palmetto Beach in Tampa, Fla., as Hurricane Idalia makes landfall on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Ivy Ceballo/Tampa Bay Times via AP)


    A man walks his motorcycle to Desoto Park after attempting to ride through an impassable South Bermuda Boulevard at Palmetto Beach in Tampa, Fla., as Hurricane Idalia makes landfall on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Ivy Ceballo/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

  • People kayak past an abandon vehicle in the intersection of Boca Ciega Drive and Pasadena Avenue Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023 in St. Pete Beach, Fla.,  Hurricane Idalia made landfall Wednesday in Florida as a Category 3 storm and unleashed devastation along a wide stretch of the Gulf Coast, submerging homes and vehicles, turning streets into rivers, unmooring small boats and downing power lines in an area that has never before received such a pummeling. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)


    People kayak past an abandon vehicle in the intersection of Boca Ciega Drive and Pasadena Avenue Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023 in St. Pete Beach, Fla., Hurricane Idalia made landfall Wednesday in Florida as a Category 3 storm and unleashed devastation along a wide stretch of the Gulf Coast, submerging homes and vehicles, turning streets into rivers, unmooring small boats and downing power lines in an area that has never before received such a pummeling. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

  • Visitors to the Southernmost Point buoy brave the waves made stronger from Hurricane Idalia on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, in Key West, Fla. Feeding on some of the hottest water on the planet, Hurricane Idalia is expected to rapidly strengthen as it bears down on Florida and the rest of the Gulf Coast, scientists said. (Rob O'Neal/The Key West Citizen via AP)


    Visitors to the Southernmost Point buoy brave the waves made stronger from Hurricane Idalia on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, in Key West, Fla. Feeding on some of the hottest water on the planet, Hurricane Idalia is expected to rapidly strengthen as it bears down on Florida and the rest of the Gulf Coast, scientists said. (Rob O’Neal/The Key West Citizen via AP)

  • A group wades into a flooded Beach Boulevard near 31st Avenue, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Gulfport, Fla., as Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the Big Bend region. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)


    A group wades into a flooded Beach Boulevard near 31st Avenue, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Gulfport, Fla., as Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the Big Bend region. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

  • Zeke Pierce rides his paddle board down the middle of a flooded Bayshore Blvd in downtown in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023.  Hurricane Idalia steamed toward Florida’s Big Bend region Wednesday morning, threatening deadly storm surges and destructive winds in an area not accustomed to such pummeling.


    Zeke Pierce rides his paddle board down the middle of a flooded Bayshore Blvd in downtown in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. Hurricane Idalia steamed toward Florida’s Big Bend region Wednesday morning, threatening deadly storm surges and destructive winds in an area not accustomed to such pummeling.

  • Members of the Tampa Fire Rescue Dept., remove a street pole after large awnings from an apartment building blew off from winds associated with Hurricane Idalia Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. Idalia made landfall earlier this morning along the Big Bend of the state.


    Members of the Tampa Fire Rescue Dept., remove a street pole after large awnings from an apartment building blew off from winds associated with Hurricane Idalia Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. Idalia made landfall earlier this morning along the Big Bend of the state.

  • Shore Boulevard in front of O'Maddy's Bar & Grille is seen in floodwaters as Hurricane Idalia made landfall Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Gulfport, Fla. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)


    Shore Boulevard in front of O’Maddy’s Bar & Grille is seen in floodwaters as Hurricane Idalia made landfall Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Gulfport, Fla. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

  • A man runs across flooded Bayshore Blvd., from the storm surge associated with Hurricane Idalia Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. Idalia made landfall earlier this morning along the Big Bend of the state.


    A man runs across flooded Bayshore Blvd., from the storm surge associated with Hurricane Idalia Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. Idalia made landfall earlier this morning along the Big Bend of the state.

  • Chad Hinchman, 40, walks through one of his rental Airbnb properties on Hibiscus Avenue South, which flooded overnight, as Hurricane Idalia made landfall, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023 in Pasadena. (Martha Asencio-Rhine/Tampa Bay Times via AP)


    Chad Hinchman, 40, walks through one of his rental Airbnb properties on Hibiscus Avenue South, which flooded overnight, as Hurricane Idalia made landfall, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023 in Pasadena. (Martha Asencio-Rhine/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

  • This image provided by NOAA shows shows Hurricane Idalia over Florida's Gulf Coast on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (NOAA via AP)


    This image provided by NOAA shows shows Hurricane Idalia over Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (NOAA via AP)

  • PERRY, Fla. (AP) — Hurricane Idalia made landfall Wednesday in Florida as a Category 3 storm and unleashed devastation along a wide stretch of the Gulf Coast, submerging homes and vehicles, turning streets into rivers, unmooring small boats and downing power lines before sweeping into Georgia.

    Almost 375,000 customers in Florida and Georgia lost power while rushing water covered streets near the coast. As the eye moved inland, high winds shredded signs, sent sheet metal flying and snapped tall trees.

    Idalia came ashore in the lightly populated Big Bend region, where the Florida Panhandle curves into the peninsula. It made landfall near Keaton Beach at 7:45 a.m. as a high-end Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 125 mph (205 kph).

    As of midday Wednesday, there were no confirmed storm deaths in Florida, although reports of fatal traffic accidents in two counties may end up being storm-related, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference.

    A 59-year-old man driving a pickup truck in heavy rain veered off the road outside Gainesville. In Dade City, north of Tampa, a 40-year-old man lost control of his pickup and crashed into a tree, authorities said.

    State officials, 5,500 National Guardsman and rescue crews were in search-and-recovery mode, inspecting bridges, clearing toppled trees and looking for anyone in distress in one of Florida’s most rural regions.


            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            

     

    Because of the remoteness, search teams may need more time to complete their work compared with past hurricanes in more urban areas, said Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Department of Emergency Management.

    “You may have two houses on a 5-mile (8-kilometer) road so it’s going to take some time,” Guthries said.

    On the island of Cedar Key, downed trees and debris blocked roads, and propane tanks exploded.

    RJ Wright stayed behind on Cedar Key so he could check on elderly neighbors. He hunkered down with friends in a motel and when it was safe, walked outside into chest-high water. It could have been a lot worse for the island, which juts into the Gulf, since it didn’t take a direct hit, he said.

    “It got pretty gnarly for a while, but it was nothing compared to some of the other storms,” Wright said.

    The system remained a hurricane as it crossed into Georgia with top winds of 90 mph (150 mph), after drenching Florida mostly to the east of Tallahassee. Forecasters said it would punish the Carolinas overnight as a tropical storm.

            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            

     

    Some models had predicted that Idalia could circle southward toward land again after that, but the National Hurricane Center predicted it would move deeper into the Atlantic this weekend.

    In the town of Perry, the wind blew out store windows, tore siding off buildings and overturned a gas station canopy. Interstate 275 in Tampa was partially flooded, and toppled power lines closed northbound Interstate 75 just south of Valdosta, Georgia.

    About 200 miles to the south of where Idalia made landfall, the roads around the chic shops and restaurants of St. Armands Circle in the Sarasota area were underwater.

    Astounded by the flooding that turned Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard into a river, Bill Hall watched a paddleboarder ride along the major thoroughfare.

    “This is actually unbelievable,” Hall said. “I haven’t seen anything like this in years.”

    In Tallahassee, Florida’s capital, the power went out well before the center of the storm arrived, but the city avoided a direct hit. A giant oak tree next to the governor’s mansion split in half, covering the yard with debris.

    “If they do cut down the whole tree, that is more room for my kids to hit baseballs,” DeSantis said.

    Storm surge could rise as high as 16 feet (4.9 meters) in some places. Some counties implemented curfews to keep residents off roads.

    Diane Flowers was sound asleep at 1 a.m. Wednesday in her Wakulla County, Florida, home, but her husband was up watching the weather on TV when he got a text from their son after the storm was upgraded to a Category 4. He’s a firefighter/EMT in Franklin County, which is also along the Gulf Coast.

    “He said, ‘You guys need to leave,'” Flowers said. “And he’s not one for overreacting, so when he told us to leave, we just packed our stuff, got in our car and got going.”

    They quickly packed a few clothes, medicine, food for their two border collies, a computer, important documents and a bag of Cheetos. Motels were packed all the way into Alabama, where they ended up finding a room in Dothan.

    The National Weather Service in Tallahassee called Idalia “an unprecedented event” since no major hurricanes on record have ever passed through the bay abutting the Big Bend. The state, still dealing with lingering damage from last year’s Hurricane Ian, feared disastrous results.

    Idalia grew into a Category 2 system on Tuesday and then a Category 3 storm on Wednesday before peaking as a Category 4 hurricane. It then weakened slightly.

    More than 30,000 utility workers in Florida were gathering to make repairs as quickly as possible in the hurricane’s wake. Airports in the region, including Tampa International Airport, planned to restart commercial operations either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday.

    In Valdosta, Georgia, Idalia’s fierce winds uprooted trees and sent rain flying sideways, toppling a large tree onto a house and mangling awning. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp told reporters that there were no confirmed reports of injuries.

    As he finished tying down about 20 sailboats and motor yachts docked on Wilmington Island east of Savannah, Georgia, Brandon Long said his biggest worry was that the storm surge was forecast to coincide with a higher-than-normal tide.

    “If these docks float off their pylons or come apart because of the violent current and the choppy waters, then that’s what destroys a marina,” said Long, owner of the Bull River Marina.

    Officials in Bermuda warned that Idalia could hit the island early next week as a tropical storm. Bermuda on Wednesday was being lashed by the outer bands of Hurricane Franklin, a Category 2 storm that was on track to pass near the island in the north Atlantic Ocean.

    President Joe Biden on Wednesday called DeSantis to let him know that federal support would be available to deal with any destruction from Idalia. The Republican governor and GOP presidential candidate indicated that the state’s needs were currently being met, said Deanne Criswell, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    ——

    Associated Press writers Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida; Mike Schneider in St. Louis, Missouri; Marcia Dunn in Cape Canaveral, Florida; Curt Anderson in Orlando, Florida; Chris O’Meara in Clearwater, Florida; Cristiana Mesquita in Havana; Russ Bynum in Savannah, Georgia; Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina; Seth Borenstein in Washington; Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire; Tara Copp in Washington; and Julie Walker in New York contributed to this report.

            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            



    [ad_2]

    Related Articles

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Back to top button