Hurricane Idalia made landfall near Keaton Beach, Florida, Wednesday morning as a Category 3 hurricane.
The storm system sustained nearly 125mph winds, splitting trees in half, drowning cars, and ripping rooves off of buildings, the Associated Press reports.
The hurricane produced dangerous storm surges in Deadman Bay that flooded homes, businesses and boat docks in Steinhatchee, Florida.
State officials, some 5,500 National Guard members and rescue crew members are currently evaluating damage to bridges, moving downed trees and searching for anyone in danger.
The “Big Bend” area is remote and will thus require more time for search and rescue efforts to be completed, director of the Florida Department of Emergency Management Kevin Guthrie said, according to The AP.
Nonetheless, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis noted that more than 40 rescues were made as of Wednesday night.
“Urban search and rescue teams, National Guard, Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife, Florida State Guard have been involved in search and rescue efforts,” DeSantis said while speaking in Tallahassee. “There’s still reports rolling in, but as of last night, there were approximately 40 successful rescues made, including 29 by the Florida National Guard,” he added.
This is the first time a major hurricane has been recorded to pass through the Big Bend area.
The storm crossed into Georgia as the day went on with winds of up to 90mph. It continued to weaken, becoming a tropical storm by Wednesday afternoon and boasting winds of only 60 mph by Wednesday night.
Nonetheless, as the storm system made its way up the coast, it spawned a tornado in Charleston, South Carolina, the National Weather Service reports.
According to Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk, one person was reportedly killed in Georgia when a tree fell on him while he was attempting to clear another tree out of the road. Two deputies were injured when the tree fell. There have been no confirmed deaths in Florida.
President Joe Biden, on Thursday, declared Hurricane Idalia a “major disaster” in the State of Florida and “ordered Federal aid to supplement State, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected” by the storm.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Sean Rayford/Stringer
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.