Just hours after pummeling Florida’s west coast and flooding villages there, Idalia fell to a tropical storm on Wednesday evening as it dumped heavy rain, unleashed strong gusts, and cut electricity in sections of southern Georgia and the Carolinas.
The National Weather Service reported On its Twitter page, that as the storm passed through South Carolina on Wednesday night, the water level at Charleston Harbor was higher than 9 feet, ranking it as the fifth-highest water level ever recorded and only marginally below levels attained during Hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017.
— NWS Charleston, SC (@NWSCharlestonSC) August 31, 2023
According to the weather service’s official tweet:
“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,”
URGENT: 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! #chswx #scwx
— NWS Charleston, SC (@NWSCharlestonSC) August 30, 2023
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.
Approximately 6,000 homes in the adjoining coastal Pasco County, to the north of Tampa, were “inundated with water,” according to one official. The associate director of Pasco County Emergency Management, Laura Wilcoxen, told CNN:
“Many of them that we’re seeing have major damage, We have water at least 18 inches or higher that have gone into these homes.”
President Joe Biden said that he has offered governors in the Southeast “anything their states need” to deal with the hurricane. Speaking more generally about recent natural catastrophes in the nation, he added:
“I don’t think anybody can deny the impact of the climate crisis anymore.”
What to Expect Wednesday Night?
At 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the storm was 60 miles west of Charleston, South Carolina, whipping 65 mph winds, according to the National Hurricane Center. The center issued a warning that there was still a flood concern for areas of Georgia and the Carolinas.
It will pass close to or around South Carolina’s coast through Wednesday night before repositioning itself offshore close to North Carolina’s coast Thursday. According to the storm center, up to 10 inches of rain could fall on areas of east-central Georgia, central and eastern South Carolina, and eastern North Carolina on Thursday.
“These rainfall amounts will lead to areas of flash, urban, and moderate river flooding, with considerable impacts,”
Idalia’s rain covered 600 miles from central Florida to central North Carolina by late Wednesday afternoon, and its powerful winds blew through more than 300 miles of the same region. Through Wednesday night, there is a chance of tornadoes in coastal South Carolina and coastal North Carolina.
Two persons were brought to the hospital with minor injuries after the car collided with another vehicle that was traveling on the same road. According to the National Weather Service, a tornado watch is still in place for Goose Creek and other areas of the state into Wednesday night.
Weather Related Deaths
According to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, “one unconfirmed fatality” was reported in the storm’s aftermath on Wednesday. Two men were killed in two separate accidents on Wednesday morning while driving in severe storm conditions from Idalia, according to Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins.
Please click on this link for further information if you’re interested:
- Hurricane Hilary Path: Warning as California Braces for Heavy Rain
- Hurricane Hilary Tracker Map: Live Updates, Rainfall Totals and More
Both deaths, according to Gaskins, were caused by the weather. It’s not clear if DeSantis is referencing one of these collisions. CNN has contacted the agencies to get more information. According to Georgia’s Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk, a fatality caused by the storm happened in the county on Wednesday afternoon.
A guy was killed when a tree he was cutting that was on a roadway collapsed on him, according to Paulk. Local authorities had earlier warned that “it is very dangerous out,” advising citizens to stay inside. Local officials posted on Facebook.
“We cannot stress this enough, trees and power lines are down all across Lowndes County, please stay off of the streets unless it’s an emergency,”
According to Kevin Guthrie, executive director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, urban search and rescue personnel have combed through about 75% of the storm-affected areas in Florida. Guthrie declared:
“Ensure that those have been cleared and there’s nobody there, We are not finding anybody at home, Many, many people heeded the warnings to evacuate and we, so far, have not had any reports of … fatalities related to any drowning or any flooding.”
At least 28 counties in Florida have issued evacuation orders, some of which are mandatory. In Florida after a storm Authorities were repairing roads as of Wednesday night, sending teams to hard-hit areas, and cautioning locals to be watchful.
On Wednesday, Taylor County Sheriff Wayne Padgett asked residents to remain indoors, warning that strolling outside could obstruct rescue and cleanup efforts and endanger lives.
Authorities in Pasco County carried out more than 80 rescue missions, saving at least 150 people from flooding ranging in age from just days old to 90, according to local authorities’ Facebook post.
Rescue operations started on Wednesday at 3:30 a.m., according to Pasco County Fire Chief Tony Perez, and call volume increased around 6 a.m. People stayed around, he claimed, for a variety of reasons, including one woman who claimed to have neither money nor a place to depart.
Another family, he added, wished to preserve their possessions and memories. Sheriff Mike Prendergast of Citrus County, which includes Crystal River, told CNN that the impacts of the hurricane will continue “to play out for a long time” and advised people not to go near the standing water in the streets. Sheriff’s words:
“Don’t get out onto that water, because it is salt water mixed in with a lot of other things, It’s going to destroy your vehicles, and then it’s going to give you a costly repair bill whenever you get past the storm.”
According to poweroutage.us, more than 180,000 people were still without power in Georgia on Wednesday night, along with 178,000 more in Florida and 35,000 in South Carolina.
The Florida Department of Health reported on Wednesday night that boil water advisories had been issued for parts of DeSoto, Dixie, Leon, Levy, Marion, and Taylor counties.
According to the governor, at least 30 of the 52 school districts that were shuttered due to the storm will reopen on Thursday, and eight more will do so on Friday. According to Guthrie, authorities will soon start performing preliminary assessments in an effort to estimate the price of the storm’s damage.