Hurricane Idalia makes landfall in North Florida as a Category 3 storm
DeSantis: ‘You don’t want to be messing around with these winds’
The path of Hurricane Idalia as of 8 a.m. on Wednesday, August 30, 2023 (National Hurricane Center)
Hurricane Idalia made landfall at 7:45 a.m Wednesday along the Florida Big Bend coast as a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 125 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is the eighth major hurricane to make landfall along the Gulf Coast since 2017.
The storm made landfall near Keaton Beach, in the southern part of Taylor County. It briefly reached Category 4 status and then was downgraded around 7 a.m., according to the Hurricane Center. Storm surge could reach up to 16 feet in some areas of the Big Bend region.
The Big Bend is the arch that connects the Panhandle to the peninsula. It’s also the area of Florida’s state capital, an uncommon target of hurricanes.
“That level of storm surge is life threatening,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a press briefing Wednesday morning.
At 9 a.m. the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) radar data indicated that maximum sustained winds were near 110 mph.
There have been reports of flooding along much of West Florida’s coast, with the potential to get worse as high tide is not expected in many areas of the west coast until later this morning or early afternoon.
At his press briefing at 6:30 a.m, DeSantis warned people not to go outside, even if the storm had passed their part of the state.
“Don’t put your life at risk by doing anything dumb at this point,” he said. “This thing is powerful. If you’re inside just hunker down until it gets passed you. You don’t want to be messing around with these winds.”
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