Tropical Storm Idalia to Move into Atlantic After Hitting Florida
Tropical Storm Idalia brought heavy rain to the U.S. states of North Carolina and South Carolina late Wednesday after slamming into Florida’s Gulf Coast as a powerful hurricane early in the day.
The National Hurricane Center warned of the potential for flooding in the Carolinas on Thursday as the center of the storm moved back into the Atlantic.
The forecast path for Idalia could take it to Bermuda still at tropical storm strength sometime around Sunday. The island dealt Wednesday with rains from another storm, Hurricane Franklin.
Idalia knocked out power to nearly 500,000 customers in Florida and neighboring Georgia while flooding coastal areas in Florida and spawning at least one tornado in South Carolina.
The storm made landfall with winds of about 200 kph and was tied with an 1896 hurricane as the strongest ever to hit Florida’s Big Bend area, where the peninsular state curves to meet its panhandle region to the west.
Storm surges pushed the coastal surf to nearly 2.5 meters higher than normal at Cedar Key, near the landfall site, but the hurricane came ashore at low tide, minimizing an even worse surge of floodwaters.
Authorities reported at least two people were killed in weather-related car crashes in Florida, while Georgia reported one death related to the storm.
In preparation for rescue and repair efforts, about 5,500 National Guard troops were activated, and more than 30,000 utility workers stood by ahead of the storm’s arrival.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press.