Idalia Lashes Florida
Hurricane Idalia plowed into Florida's northern Gulf Coast yesterday, making landfall as a Category 3 storm along the state's sparsely populated Big Bend region while driving significant storm surge into cities further south. No direct deaths due to the storm had been reported as of this writing—two people died in separate car crashes ahead of the storm's arrival.
Storm surge occurs when a hurricane's rotational winds push water up onto shorelines (see 101)—an effect that can be felt far away from the storm's center. Tampa, roughly 150 miles south of landfall, saw water rise by eight feet in some areas.
The storm remained a Category 1 system as far inland as southern Georgia, eventually passing over Savannah and Charleston, South Carolina, before heading into the Atlantic Ocean (see storm path). Charleston Harbor saw a storm surge of nine feet, marking the fifth-highest water level on record.
Idalia moved faster than initially expected, lessening flood risks from rainfall across its trajectory. See photos of the impact here.