Disasters & Accidents

Florida focuses on rescue and recovery tasks after Idalia

Miami, Aug 31 (EFE).- Florida has turned Thursday to rescue and recovery efforts in the areas hit by Idalia, which entered through northwestern Florida on Wednesday after becoming a category three hurricane.

During a press conference Thursday, the State Governor Ron DeSantis, said that Idalia made landfall early Wednesday with sustained winds of 201 kilometers per hour (124 mi/h) in Keaton Beach.

“Wednesday morning Hurricane Idalia made landfall (…) immediately we began response operations including search and rescue, debris cleanup, and power restoration efforts. There has been significant damage particularly along Florida’s Big Bend.”, said the governor.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell and the governor said there were no deaths caused by Idalia.

However, the Florida Highway Patrol said on Thursday that the cyclone was the indirect cause of the death of two people driving under “extreme” weather conditions.

DeSantis added that as of last night, state emergency crews have rescued about 40 people trapped in homes or flooded areas.

The FEMA administrator, who will tour the most affected areas today alog with DeSantis , assured that she would convey to US President Joe Biden, the governor’s request to issue a “major disaster” declaration for the state.

According to initial assessments, Idalia caused less damages than Hurricane Ian a year ago, which also hit the west coast of Florida and was responsible for nearly 150 deaths and millions of dollars in losses.

The attention of state and federal authorities is on the “Big Bend,” the worst hit area, where more than 140,000 homes and properties are still without power.

“We are working hard to restore power across the state of Florida. As of 6:00 am today, there are approximately 146,000 outages reported across the state. Thus far, 420,000 accounts that lost power have been restored,” added DeSantis.

While the crowded Tampa Bay has avoided the worst of the cyclone, images of the devastating flooding caused by Idalia continue to emerge.

Cedar Key, north of the city of Tampa, has set a record: the sea rose to almost 2.4 meters (almost 8 feet) above its average level, according to preliminary data.

After Idalia left Florida it moved on towards Georgia and South Carolina, which was declared a disaster area today by President Biden

Idalia is currently over the Atlantic, off North Carolina’s coast, under the category of tropical storm with winds of 95 km/h (59 mi/h)

According to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), Idalia will continue to move away from the North Carolina coast today and even become a post-tropical cyclone, to regain tropical storm status at the end of the week, when it will be near Bermuda.


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