Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall this morning with 125 mph (205 km/h) winds, has weakened and is now moving through northwestern Florida .
A boat is stranded near a highway in the city of Jena after Hurricane Idalia made landfall near Keaton Beach, Florida. Photo: EFE/EPA/CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH
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Leer en español: El huracán Idalia avanza por el noroeste de Florida: ¿Qué esperar?
Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall this morning with 125 mph (205 km/h) winds, has weakened and is now moving through northwestern Florida as a Category 2 hurricane and dangerous storm surge.
According to an update from the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), Idalia has winds of 110 miles per hour (175 km/h) and is a category 2 hurricane on the Saffir Simpson scale (out of a maximum of 5).
The region known as "Big Bend" suffers the ravages of this potentially catastrophic cyclone that has millions of people on alert, because after hitting the coast with category 3 (that is, as a major hurricane) it will continue through the north of the state on its way to Georgia and the Carolinas.
At 9:00 a.m. (1:00 p.m. GMT) Idalia was moving toward the north-northeast at about 18 mph (30 km/h) and was producing a "catastrophic storm surge" along the Big Bend coast of Florida and "damaging winds" moving inland across the northern part of the state.
Idalia was at that time only about 20 miles (30 km) south-southwest of Madison, a rural town in northwest Florida, and about 45 miles (70 km) south-southwest of Valdosta, Georgia.
Web cameras in the Big Bend area showed a rough and swollen sea shortly after dawn today.
The beach boulevards of many coastal towns were invaded by the sea, as can be seen in those cameras spread all over the coast that allow one to see live and without risk the onslaught of hurricanes.
Government warnings to the population
The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, repeated this Wednesday morning his call to "stay safe, not put your life in danger," by listing the risks that Idalia entails and the forces that the state has prepared to respond to the emergency. in areas such as health, aid and rescue of people, energy, connectivity and mobility.
Authorities have warned that the greatest danger is rising seas, which can rise up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) in some parts of the northeast Florida coast due to a combination of storm surge and tidal waves.
On storm surge, DeSantis stressed: "it's a big, big, very dangerous thing" to stay away from.
The state has issued mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders for more than 1.6 million people before the arrival of Idalia, which with its winds and rains has left without electricity 268,280 homes and buildings on the northwest coast of Florida, according to data from electric companies collected by the website PowerOutage.us.
What to expect?
According to the NHC, although Idalia should weaken after landfall, it is likely to remain a hurricane as it moves through southern Georgia and near the Georgia or southern South Carolina coast later today.
In addition to hurricane and storm surge watches for northwestern Florida, the NHC issued a hurricane watch this morning for the US east coast from Altamaha Sound in Georgia to Edisto Beach in South Carolina. There are also minor advisories for areas of North Carolina and Virginia.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Franklin is expected to bring "tropical storm conditions" to Bermuda later today, according to the NHC. Franklin, with winds of 110 miles per hour (175 km/h), is located this morning about 180 miles (290 km) west-northwest of Bermuda, where flights arriving and departing from LF Wade International Airport have been canceled. Hurricane-force winds from Franklin extend up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles (260 kilometers).