Chad T. Wilson – Blog
August 31, 2023
Updated: August 31, 2023 03:00 p.m.
Hurricane Idalia Updates: Florida and other states begin to evaluate the damage.
As of Thursday, storm Idalia moved back to sea, and hundreds of thousands of people in the Southeast remain without power. The roads are covered in storm debris, and there are still concerns about the likelihood of significant flooding.
On Wednesday morning, the storm, which had been raging its way east across Georgia, made landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast as a Category 3 hurricane, flooding communities and leaving trails of debris. Estimates show the cost of Hurricane Idalia’s landfall will cost between $12 to $20 billion in damages.
For comparison, the National Hurricane Center estimated that Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 storm that made landfall in western Florida last year, cost the United States $112.9 billion in damages. It was then the third most expensive hurricane in US history.
After the storm passed, the waters in Florida’s Crystal River started to recede, revealing a “catastrophic event,” city council member Ken Frink told CNN on Wednesday. If not for two things: the comparatively quick pace at which Idalia passed through the area and the location of where it made landfall, the devastation might have been greater.
Georgia announced a state of emergency as the Southeast of the United States was slammed by severe flooding and storm surges. A state of emergency was declared by Governor Brian Kemp, and will run until September 8 at 11.59 p.m.
The executive order stated that Idalia “has the potential to produce severe impacts to citizens throughout south-central and southeast coastal Georgia” and that possible flooding, downed trees, power lines, and debris may render Georgia GIA’s network of roads is impassable in affected counties, isolating residences and persons from access to essential public services.”
Idalia battered Florida before flooding sections of South Carolina, including Charleston. The National Weather Service reported that the water level at Charleston Harbor was higher than 9 feet as the storm passed through South Carolina on Wednesday night. This makes it the fifth-highest water level ever recorded and only marginally lower than levels experienced during Hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017.
The weather service also recorded “major coastal inundation” at Edisto Beach and Downtown Charleston. The Charleston Battery and Edisto dunes have been breached by water, allowing water to rush onto the roads and under houses.
According to Charleston police, certain roads were blocked by floods, making it difficult to access some places. Trees have fallen, and the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office reported that if roads are in these conditions, it is adviced to turn around.
More information about Hurricane Idalia:
- Idalia has shifted offshore but is still a tropical storm.
- Early this morning, almost 300,000 consumers in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina were without electricity.
- Forecasters predict that Idalia could bring the Carolinas up to 8 inches of rain, and they have issued flood warnings for flash floods, urban flooding, and moderate river flooding.
- Yesterday, just before 8 a.m. ET, the hurricane, made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend.
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Idalia is deemed “an unprecedented event” by the National Weather Service in Tallahassee since no major hurricane has ever been known to travel across the bay that borders the Big Bend region.