Hurricane Idalia batters US state of Florida, power outages, storm surges hit normal life

Hurricane. Photo courtesy: UNI


Just Earth News: Hurricane Idalia on Wednesday hit Florida’s Gulf Coast in the US, causing howling winds, torrential rains and pounding surf, disrupting normal life in the region.

Soon after hitting the land, the storm weakened as it turned its fury on south-eastern Georgia.

According to reports, flood water trapped some residents in Georgia.

The powerful storm, which the National Hurricane Center (NHC) called “an unprecedented event”, made landfall shortly after daybreak with 160mph gusts near Keaton Beach on Florida’s Gulf coast, reports The Guardian.

Giving details on the weather conditions, the National Weather Service, Charleston posted on X: “Dangerous coastal inundation is going across much of the lower South Carolina coast. Do not go to the beach and stay out of flood waters. Tide levels in the Charleston Harbor are now over 9..03 ft MLLW (3.27 ft MHHW). This is a dangerous situation!”

In Florida, it pushed inland a storm surge of up to 16ft, submerging the small coastal community of Steinhatchee and setting record high water levels across a wide area stretching 200 miles south to Tampa. The afternoon high tide was heightened by a rare blue “supermoon”, reported The Guardian.

Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis,  asked people to maintain caution.

He was quoted as saying by The Guardian: “Don’t put your life at risk by doing anything dumb at this point.”

The overall damage caused by the storm is still being assessed.

Over 225,000 people were still without power in Florida, and another 230,000 were in the dark in Georgia following the storm’s landfall on Wednesday.

“I’ve seen people sit in the dark for months after a hurricane,” one linesman in Jacksonville told the BBC.

President Joe Biden reacts:

US President Joe Biden spoke with Governors of the storm-hit region and assured his support to tackle the crisis.

“I spoke with Govs. DeSantis, Kemp, McMaster, and Cooper to reiterate my Administration’s support for response and recovery in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina as Idalia makes landfall,” he wrote on X.

“We’ll keep working with personnel on the ground as the storm progresses,” Biden said.