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Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida with Category 3 strength and “catastrophic” storm surges

Hurricane Idalia I made landfall this Wednesday on the western coast of the state of Florida, over the Gulf of Mexico, as a powerful Category 3 cyclone.

The National Hurricane Center reported that the hurricane made landfall on the northwest coast of Florida. with sustained winds of 205 km per hour and “catastrophic storm surges.”

The intensity of the wind forced the authorities early on to issue a rare warning.

These are the winds that surround the eye of the hurricane and are the most intense. “Treat these impending extreme winds as if a tornado is approaching and immediately move to the safe room of your shelter. Take action now to protect your life!” The National Weather Service office in Tallahassee warned hours before the cyclone’s arrival.

Residents of vulnerable coastal areas in Florida were ordered to pack up and leave their homes Tuesday as Idalia strengthened in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and authorities warned of “catastrophic storm surge and destructive winds” when it comes ashore Wednesday. .

The waterfront in Tampa this Wednesday receiving the first attacks from Idalia. Photo: AP

It is expected to make landfall in the morning like a category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of at least 209 kilometers / hour in the sparsely populated region of Big Bend, in the northwest strip of Florida, where the area known as the Panhandle curves towards the peninsula. The result could be a major blow to a state still grappling with damage from Hurricane Ian a year ago.

An “unprecedented” event

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee said Idalia was “an unprecedented event” as there are no records of a major hurricane ever passing through Big Bend Bay before.

Hurricanes are measured on a scale five levels, the fifth being the most powerful. Category 3 is the first on the scale considered a hurricane of great intensity. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says that during a Category 4 storm “catastrophic damage will occur.”


At 05:00 in the morning on Wednesday, Idalia was at 96.5 kilometers west of Cedar Key and 145 km south of Tallahassee, the NHC noted, adding that the meteor is moving north at 24 km/h.

On the island of Cedar Key, Commissioner Sue Colson and other city officials stored documents and electronic devices at City Hall. He also had a message for the nearly 900 residents who were under mandatory evacuation orders from the offshore island in the Big Bend region: “One word: Leave… It’s not something to discuss.”

More than a dozen state police were door to door to warn residents that storm surge could reach 15 feet (4.5 meters) in height.

Hurricane Idalia perched over Florida, this Wednesday.  Photo: AFPHurricane Idalia perched over Florida, this Wednesday. Photo: AFP

The governor, Ron DeSantis, repeated the warning at an afternoon news conference.

“They really have to go now. Now is the time,” she noted. Previously, the governor stressed that residents did not necessarily have to leave the state, but that they should “get to higher ground in a secure structure.”

“They can ride out the storm there and then go home,” he said.

Not everyone wants to go

But not all paid attention. Andy Bair, owner of the Island Hotel, said he intended to “take care” of his establishment, which predates the American Civil War. The building has not flooded in its nearly 20 years of ownership, not even when Hurricane Hermine flooded the city in 2016.

“As the manager of the oldest building on Cedar Key, I feel like I need to be here,” Bair said. “We have shown time and time again that we are not going to disappear. We may be a little uncomfortable for a couple of days, but we’ll be fine in the end.”

Steve Pizzano puts up planks of wood in his souvenir shop in Clearwater Beach, Florida.  Photo: ReutersSteve Pizzano puts up planks of wood in his souvenir shop in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Photo: Reuters

HE suspended toll collection on highways leading out of the danger zone, shelters were opened and hotels prepared to accommodate evacuees. More than 30,000 utility workers gathered to be ready to make repairs as soon as possible after the hurricane. Some 5,500 elements of the National Guard were activated.

In Tarpon Springs, a coastal community northwest of Tampa60 patients were evacuated from a hospital over concerns that the hurricane could cause a storm surge of 2.1 meters (7 feet).

After making landfall in the Big Bend region, Idalia is expected to cross the Florida peninsula and drench southern Georgia and the Carolinas on Thursday. Both Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced states of emergency to free up state resources and personnel, including hundreds of National Guard troops.

Stormy skies over Tampa this Tuesday.  Photo: Miguel J. Rodriguez Carrillo / AFPStormy skies over Tampa this Tuesday. Photo: Miguel J. Rodriguez Carrillo / AFP

Idalia dumped heavy rainfall on Cuba on Monday and Tuesday, causing flooding in the tobacco-producing province of Pinar del Río, as well as leaving many residents without power.

The National Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Management recently said this year’s hurricane season will be much more intense than initially anticipated, in part because of extremely warm ocean temperatures. The season ends on November 30 and August and September are usually the busiest months.

When are you coming to Miami?

Further south and over the Atlantic, on the east coast, Miami, in principle, would not be in the path of the cyclone.

The city of the Sun, so precious by Argentine tourists, yes it will have bad weather all week starting on Wednesday when the rains begin and the wind increases, with gusts of about 33 km per hour, very far from the almost 200 km per hour with which Idalia will hit on the other side of the peninsula.

In Miami it will rain at least until next Tuesday. And the temperatures will be high, with highs of up to 33 degrees and lows of 26, according to official information from Miami-Dade County.

Clarín writing with information from Associated Press

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