Florida residents were warned that “Survival isn’t guaranteed” as they were urged to evacuate from their homes. It was the largest category 3 hurricane to hit Florida’s coasts in over a century, and the trail of destruction it left behind was devastating.
Devastating Hurricane Hits Florida
Florida’s Big Bend faced the wrath of Hurricane Idalia, unleashing Category 3 destruction not seen in 125 years.
Catastrophic Winds and Deadly Surge
Idalia made landfall with powerful Category 3 strength, bringing catastrophic winds and deadly storm surges.
Historic Landfall Zone
The hurricane’s core slammed into Keaton Beach, marking a historic moment in the Gulf Coast area.
Idalia’s fury didn’t stop at landfall; the storm’s destruction extended beyond the initial impact.
Inland Threat and Coastal Chaos
The powerful hurricane weakened into a tropical storm as it moved through Georgia and then South Carolina.
Cedar Key’s Record-Breaking Surge
Cedar Key witnessed a record-breaking storm surge of 8 to 9 feet, with waters rising perilously high.
City Overwhelmed by Surge
Cedar Key residents experienced the fury of the storm surge, with reports of overwhelming flooding.
Fear and Uncertainty Loom
Residents grappled with apocalyptic scenes, anticipating worsening conditions and a grim aftermath.
“Survival Isn’t Guaranteed”
Authorities had urged residents not to underestimate the storm, emphasizing that “survival isn’t guaranteed” in storm surges over 15 feet.
Extreme Wind Warning Issued
Parts of Big Bend, including Dixie and Taylor counties, faced an extreme wind warning akin to facing an approaching tornado.
Urgent Tornado Watch
A tornado watch blanketed central and northern Florida and southeast Georgia, adding to the turmoil with worsening conditions.
Destruction Beyond Forecast
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis warned of possible destruction extending beyond Idalia’s forecast cone.
Widespread Tornado Warnings
Numerous tornado warnings were issued, with potential threats far from the storm’s projected path.
Widespread Power Outages
Over 230,000 homes and businesses lost power, setting the stage for extensive recovery efforts.
President Joe Biden has announced that he would travel to Florida to survey the damage caused by the historic hurricane.
Air Travel Grinds to a Halt
Tampa International Airport canceled hundreds of flights, while St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport closed its terminal.
Hospitals and Bridges Affected
Hospitals suspended services, evacuated patients, and constructed barriers. Bridges were closed due to hazardous winds.
Education and Emergency Measures
Schools, colleges, and universities shut down across Florida while thousands of inmates were relocated to safer facilities.
A state of emergency was declared.
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