Florida began assessing the damage from Hurricane Idalia’s flooding on Wednesday after the powerful storm hit coastal communities and left thousands without power. The hurricane advanced up the southeastern US coast and brought additional storm surges.
RNews earlier reported that authorities in this southern American state described Idalia and its disastrous storm as a once-in-a-lifetime event for Florida’s northwest coast.
After the hurricane caused great damage in the so-called sunshine state, it also hit the neighboring state of Georgia. It subsequently weakened to a tropical storm which nevertheless drenched the region with 250 mm of rain and caused life-threatening flooding in coastal areas.
Although there were no immediate confirmed deaths, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stressed that situation could change quickly given the storm’s scale.
Officials say emergency services personnel, including search and rescue teams, are operational, but have warned that it may take time to reach more remote areas cut off from the outside world by uprooted trees or floodwaters.
The “extremely dangerous” category 3 hurricane hit Florida’s swampy, sparsely populated Big Bend area around 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) reports.
According to NHC, the storm hit the country with maximum sustained winds of approximately 215 km/h near the community of Keaton Beach and there is a possibility of devastating flooding in some coastal areas.
Although Idalia weakened to a Category 1 hurricane and was eventually classified as a tropical storm, it remained dangerous as it raged over Georgia and South Carolina.
“We still have a lot of floodwater in the city right now and some rescue operations were still ongoing as of Wednesday evening,” Ben Almquist, emergency management director for Charleston, South Carolina, told CNN.
“However, Idalia breathed her last on Thursday morning.
“Everything should improve once the midnight hour passes for just about everyone,” Ron Morales, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service based in Charleston, told the city’s The Post and Courier said.
Idalia is expected to ramp up over the Atlantic later Thursday.