Hurricane Idalia smashed into Florida’s Big Bend early on Wednesday morning, barreling through the town of Keaton Bach, located a little north of Steinhatchee, with devastating 125 mph winds. Just a few hours later, at 9 a.m., the center of this Category 3 monstrosity was 20 miles south-southwest of Madison and 45 miles south-southwest of Valdosta, Georgia. But hey, the good news is there was a reduction in wind. It went from 125 mph down to 110 mph. Yeah, that’s still pretty terrifying actually.
According to a report from the Daily Wire, the National Weather Service located in the city of Tallahassee is referring to Idalia as an “unprecedented event, as it’s the most powerful storm to make landfall in the Big Bend area in well over a century. Evacuation orders were issued which has impacted tens of thousands of individuals in the area.
“Idalia had reached the speed of 156 mph as a Category 4 storm in the Gulf of Mexico before hitting land, but dropped in intensity. The National Hurricane Center explained the storm was altering because of an eyewall replacement cycle. ‘This change in wind speed does not diminish the threat of catastrophic storm surge and damaging winds,’ the NHC stated, warning that the storm surge could reach 12-16 feet,” the report continued.
“There will be impacts far beyond the eyewall,” Governor Ron DeSantis said during a press conference in Tallahassee on Wednesday morning, pointing out that the area where the storm is currently wreaking havoc has already seen 11 tornado warnings, with more potentially on the way. “Don’t put your life at risk by doing anything dumb at this point,” the governor urged. “This thing’s powerful. If you’re inside just hunker down until it gets past.”
As cool as Florida seems to be, having gone hardcore red over the last few years under the leadership of DeSantis, this is the one of two main reasons I would never put down roots there. The heat would be the other factor. For some that’s a major selling point. I’m sure it is fantastic in the winter time, but man, the muggy air is just too much. It’s the only place in the country where I think it’s possible to drown standing on dry ground.
“DeSantis has suspended tolls in counties targeted by the storm so residents could evacuate more quickly, and he’s declared a state of emergency for 49 Florida counties. Some 5,500 National Guard members have been assigned to aid evacuations and building defenses. Press conferences are scheduled throughout the day for updates from the governor that will be streamed on thefloridachannel.org and his Facebook page,” the Daily Wire added.
DeSantis then took a moment to talk about the brave and courageous utility linesman, which number between 30,000 and 40,000, who are rip roaring and ready to go to provide assistance with power outages that are sure to happen as a result of the storm. In fact, 25,000 are already in place, according to the governor, who then said, “They will immediately move to commence power restoration efforts. We’ve also been working with counties to make sure that they know that we have resources ready to deploy and we want to be helpful to support their efforts.”
The governor, who is currently running for president, modeled excellent leadership by being there for his state and explaining that the Big Bend area has not seen a storm of this severity and magnitude since the 19th century.
“I think that being safe is the appropriate thing and in erring on the side of caution is the appropriate thing,” he said during the press conference.
The following videos posted on X show just how powerful and destructive Idalia is:
Here's the full video of the destruction of the Horseshoe Beach, FL camera moments ago. This camera was at least 10 feet above sea level. Waves were overtaking this camera during its final moments. https://t.co/y3ZAok0Ft0 pic.twitter.com/JUu8JGZwQG
— RadarOmega (@RadarOmega) August 30, 2023
— Aaron Jayjack (@aaronjayjack) August 30, 2023
— St. Pete Police (@StPetePD) August 30, 2023
— Derek Van Dam (@VanDamCNN) August 30, 2023
By close to 10 a.m. this morning, a whopping 267,000 plus residents of Florida were without power.
All flights out of the Tampa area were canceled on Tuesday. Footage was captured by a military plane leaving the area, showcasing the rare St. Elmo’s Fire lightning strikes.
All aircraft on the installation have been evacuated/secured in preparation for #HurricaneIdalia . During the evacuation, the 50th ARS recorded St. Elmo’s fire, a weather phenomenon in which luminous plasma is created in an atmospheric electric field. pic.twitter.com/tqUGhfm8iN
— MacDill AFB (@MacDill_AFB) August 29, 2023
Pray for the folks in Florida.