As it nears the Florida shore, storm Idalia continues to strengthen and is now a Category 3 storm. Forecasters expect it to strengthen to a Category 4 hurricane before reaching landfall on Wednesday morning.
Winds from Hurricane Idalia have reached over 120 miles per hour, and its rain bands have begun to make landfall on the west coast of Florida. Authorities have issued tornado watches, and they have advised residents in low-lying coastal regions to take safety precautions, including locking down schools and evacuating their homes. They are closely monitoring its path and potential effects.
The Big Bend area of Florida’s coast is directly in the forecast path of Hurricane Idalia. Cedar Key’s mayor, Heath Davis, urged the town’s population of about a hundred to leave on the one road leading in or out of town before the hurricane hit. To put the gravity of the issue into perspective, Mayor Davis said that this storm is unlike anything the city has ever experienced.
Though the Big Bend region is relatively unpopulated, the storm’s predicted Category 4 severity upon landfall may have far-reaching effects throughout Florida’s Gulf Coast. As the storm’s course moves farther inland, officials in Georgia and the Carolinas have also declared emergencies due to the threat of severe rainfall and floods.
During a meeting at the White House, FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell stressed the severity of Hurricane Idalia. She urged people in Florida to leave their homes when told to do so by authorities.
See Also: Redefining Privacy and Technology
- As of 3 a.m. Eastern time, Hurricane Idalia was positioned about 100 miles southwest of Cedar Key.
- Schools in the Naples region were on tornado watch because of Idalia’s outer bands. Students and faculty members hid in specified locations of the schools. The warning period ended at 2:30 p.m., and dismissal was finally allowed to occur.
- In anticipation of the storm, the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia all proclaimed emergencies. The models predict that by this coming weekend, Idalia will have followed the Southeast coast before turning out to sea.
- Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has warned that a large number of people in the state may lose electricity. He said that 30,000 utility personnel were on their way to help with the cleanup and that 25,000 were on standby.
- Category 1 Hurricane Hermine hit the Big Bend area in 2016. The subsequent damage was minimal, with only one life lost. Historical records show that the Cedar Key Hurricane of 1896 was far deadlier and far more destructive.
As Hurricane Idalia continues to move towards the coast of Florida, concerns about its potential effects persist. Both the authorities and the population are getting ready for the worst, stressing the need of listening to warnings and taking measures to protect yourself.