Hurricane Idalia makes landfall in North Florida as a Category 3 storm

DeSantis: ‘You don’t want to be messing around with these winds’

By: - August 30, 2023 10:28 am

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.”


Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: [email protected]. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.