(NEW YORK) — Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend region Wednesday morning as a powerful Category 3 hurricane — the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in Florida’s Apalachee Bay.
Idalia weakened throughout the day and is now a tropical storm moving through Georgia and the Carolinas.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Aug 30, 11:15 PM EDT
Tornado watch remains in effect for North Carolina coast
As Tropical Storm Idalia rages on, it’s now centered northwest of Charleston, South Carolina, and has sustained winds of 60 mph while moving at 21mph to the northeast. The storm is producing very heavy rain over the Carolinas, according to the National Weather Service.
A tornado watch remains in effect until 4 a.m. ET for the North Carolina coast, but South Carolina is removed from this watch.
Aug 30, 9:52 PM EDT
Tide in Charleston possibly fifth-highest on record, National Weather Service says
The tide in Charleston, South Carolina, is believed to be the fifth-highest peak tide on record, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
The tide level at Charleston Harbor peaked at 3.47 feet “mean higher high water,” or 9.23 feet “mean lower low water,” Wednesday evening, according to NWS.
Aug 30, 8:57 PM EDT
Tornado watch issued for parts of North Carolina: National Weather Service
The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch until 4 a.m., local time, for parts of North Carolina as Tropical Storm Idalia makes its way through the area.
Aug 30, 8:42 PM EDT
‘Blue supermoon’ may make flooding worse in wake of Idalia
Many people will be able to observe and take photos of Wednesday night’s rare blue supermoon, but those impacted by Hurricane Idalia may experience worse tidal flooding because of the supermoon.
A blue moon refers to the second time a full moon appears during the same month. A supermoon is when it is at the closest point in its orbit around the Earth, according to NASA.
Both high and low tides are more intense with a supermoon because of the moon’s gravitational pull on the oceans, according to NASA.
“Perigean high tides during a full moon and new moon can cause major problems on some coasts, especially if weather adds high waves or a storm surge,” NASA said.
Areas in Pasco County, Florida to St. Petersburg, Florida, experienced flooding after Idalia made landfall on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane.
ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee predicted flooding may occur in Savannah, Georgia, and in Charleston, South Carolina, as Idalia, now a tropical storm, makes its way through the region.
Aug 30, 8:10 PM EDT
Coastal inundation reported in downtown Charleston
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Charleston, South Carolina, said water has breached the Charleston Battery and dunes at Edisto Beach — flowing onto roadways and into downtown Charleston.
High tide is coming shortly as well, which will compound the impacts. The NWS said the tide is “already in the top 8 of peak tides on record” — and rising.
Aug 30, 6:54 PM EDT
Preliminary numbers on Idalia
Here are some preliminary rain, wind and storm surge numbers from Idalia so far, as of 5 p.m.:
-Highest reported rainfall total: 9.4 inches in Clearwater Beach, Florida
-Highest wind gusts: 85 mph gusts in Perry and Bucell Junction, Florida
-Highest reported storm surge: Nearly 7 feet in Cedar Key, Florida (setting a new record at this gauge; the old record was 6.1 feet during Hurricane Hermine in 2016)
Aug 30, 6:44 PM EDT
‘Significant damage’ in the Big Bend region: DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis said there is “significant damage” throughout the Big Bend region, with Columbia, Madison and Dixie counties hardest hit.
“There is, of course, a lot of debris to clean up. But we will get working with that with the local communities to make sure that the roads are cleared and people can go back to their lives,” DeSantis said during a press briefing.
As of 6 p.m. there is one unconfirmed fatality due to the storm involving a traffic incident that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is reviewing, the governor said.
“That may end up being a confirmed fatality, it has not been confirmed yet,” DeSantis said.
Thirty of the 52 school districts that closed due to the storm will reopen Thursday, and an additional eight will reopen on Friday, the governor said.
Aug 30, 6:26 PM EDT
Idalia is forecast to be a tropical storm as it reenters the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, tracking away from the U.S.
Storm surge will continue to be a threat due to the circulation of tropical storm Idalia, with the winds bringing water ashore.
Heavy flooding rain will also continue tonight.
A tornado watch remains in effect until 10 p.m. for the Carolinas.
Aug 30, 5:13 PM EDT
Over 485K customers without power in 4 states
More than 485,000 customers are without power across four states in the wake of Hurricane Idalia.
That includes more than 260,600 customers in Florida and more than 210,200 in Georgia.
More than 14,000 customers in the Carolinas are also impacted.
Aug 30, 4:56 PM EDT
Idalia weakens to tropical storm
Idalia has weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm as it slams Georgia and the Carolinas with rain and wind.
Aug 30, 4:24 PM EDT
Biden speaks to DeSantis: ‘This is not about politics’
President Joe Biden has spoken with the governors of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina as Hurricane Idalia slams the Southeast.
“I think they’re reassured that we’re going to be there for whatever they need,” Biden said of the governors.
The president said he thinks Florida governor and GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis “trusts my judgment and my desire to help, and I trust him to be able to suggest that this is not about politics. It’s about taking care of the people of the state.”
Biden said he told the governor of each impacted state that “if there’s anything, anything the states need right now, I’m ready to mobilize that support.”
The president said he didn’t yet know if he would adjust his upcoming travel to visit the Southeast.
DeSantis told reporters he agreed with Biden’s assessment that managing the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia is not about politics.
“We’re going to work together from local, state, federal, regardless of party, to be able to deliver results for the people in their time of need,” he said.
Aug 30, 3:42 PM EDT
Tornado confirmed near Charleston
A tornado was confirmed near Charleston Wednesday afternoon.
Meteorologists are warning of flying debris and damage to roofs, windows and cars.
A tornado watch is in effect until 10 p.m. ET for parts of Georgia and the Carolinas, including Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Wilmington. Hail and 70 mph wind gusts are also possible.
Aug 30, 3:30 PM EDT
Dozens rescued in St. Petersburg
Over 75 people were rescued from flooding in St. Petersburg, Florida, near Tampa, according to city officials.
Aug 30, 2:41 PM EDT
FEMA administrator to visit Florida
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said she’s flying to Florida on Wednesday and will meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday.
She said her “biggest concern is those people who chose not to evacuate.”
“We’re already getting reports of people that chose to stay, and they’re getting calls on into the local first responders to come in and assist them,” she said.
As the storm moves north into Georgia, Criswell warned Floridians to still be mindful of flooded roads.
“As you do go out, do not wade in the water,” she added. “Do not drive through flooded roads and streets. Just remember, turn around, don’t drown. Unfortunately, we see so many fatalities after the storm passes. We want to make sure that everybody is taking the right precautions.”
She said it will “take several days to get a full understanding of what the initial assessment, damage assessment is,” and “will take longer to get the full picture of the total amount of impact to these communities.”
Aug 30, 1:26 PM EDT
DeSantis: No confirmed fatalities despite reports
Despite reports of fatalities from Hurricane Idalia — including at least one death in Pasco County confirmed by the Florida Highway Patrol — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that none of the reported deaths have yet been confirmed.
“There’s a process for confirmed fatalities that just goes through law enforcement and medical examiners. … That has not been done yet where we’ve had a confirmation,” he said.
Health facilities largely avoided damage and evacuations, Florida Division of Emergency Management Kevin Guthrie said.
“As of this minute, there have been no reports of any issues inside the health and medical industry, whether that’s assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes or hospitals,” he said.
The city of Perry, Florida, suffered some of the heaviest damage, officials said. Multiple businesses were on fire and several buildings lost their roofs.
Over 270,000 customers in Florida lost power due to Idalia. The governor said crews are working quickly to restore power to those still in the dark.
-ABC News’ Will McDuffie and Hannah Demissie
Aug 30, 1:16 PM EDT
Oak tree falls on Florida governor’s mansion
A 100-year-old oak tree split open and toppled onto the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee, Florida, on Wednesday, according to a tweet from Casey DeSantis, wife of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Casey DeSantis said she and their children were home at the time but were not hurt.
Aug 30, 1:11 PM EDT
Dozens evacuated from flooded homes in Pasco County
In Pasco County, Florida, just north of Tampa, authorities helped evacuate more than 60 people from flooded homes, according to the sheriff’s office.
The county is facing flooded roads, downed trees and downed power lines in the aftermath of Idalia, the sheriff’s office said.
Aug 30, 12:33 PM EDT
American Airlines suspends operations in hurricane’s path
American Airlines said it’s suspended operations in Tampa, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Gainesville and Savannah as Hurricane Idalia tears through.
Tampa International Airport, which closed ahead of the storm, will reopen at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
-ABC News’ Clara McMichael
Aug 30, 11:49 AM EDT
The core of Idalia is now in Georgia.
A flash flood emergency has been issued for Valdosta, Georgia, where more than 6 inches of rain fell this morning.
The latest path takes Idalia through Georgia and into the Carolinas through Wednesday evening.
The heaviest rain over the next 12 to 24 hours will be in the Carolinas, where some areas could see close to 10 inches of rain.
Five feet of storm surge is expected in Savannah and Charleston.
By 7 a.m. Thursday, the heavy rain will be hitting North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and by late Thursday morning Idalia will move off the coast.
Aug 30, 11:35 AM EDT
Cedar Key resident: ‘Entire downtown commercial district is underwater’
Cedar Key, Florida, resident Michael Bobbit rode out the storm at home, and he told ABC News Live his house “dodged a bullet” and avoided flooding.
“I put my heart and soul into this house, and it seemed like it was about to float off into the Gulf of Mexico,” he said. “I’m a native Floridian, so hurricanes inherently aren’t a big deal to me, but this one … I was scared.”
While Bobbit’s home was spared, Cedar Key’s “entire downtown commercial district is underwater,” he said. “We have no commercial buildings that aren’t entirely inundated.”
“I’d say 50% of the houses on the island have water in them,” said Bobbit, who was walking in waist-deep water during the interview. “We’re completely cut off from the mainland — our bridges are inundated.”
Bobbit said he and some other residents who stayed behind in Cedar Key are now “making sure everybody has what they need — and we think we’re in good.”
“We’re already cleaning up the streets,” he said. “We live in community with one another — we really take that seriously here and I’m really proud of our little town.”
Aug 30, 11:17 AM EDT
Flooding may strike Savannah, Charleston
ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee, who’s in Treasure Island, Florida, near St. Petersburg, as Hurricane Idalia hits, said on “GMA3” that she’s concerned about more flooding during high tide, which is around noon ET.
“Through the afternoon and early evening, if you can, avoid travel around the areas that are already flooded,” Zee said.
She also stressed the dangers of storm surge, which she said can “twist buildings off of their foundations and roll them down the street.”
“I’ve seen it with my own eyes several times,” she said.
Zee predicted Charleston and Savannah are “the next places we’re going to see big water piling up like this.”
“My concern really through the afternoon goes into South Carolina and coastal Georgia, and eventually tomorrow into North Carolina,” she said.
Aug 30, 11:12 AM EDT
Over 286,000 without power in Florida
More than 286,000 customers are without power in Florida as Hurricane Idalia hammers the state.
Aug 30, 10:57 AM EDT
Idalia weakens to Category 1
Idalia has weakened to a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds hours after it made landfall as a powerful Category 3.
High water levels are ongoing along Florida’s Gulf Coast as Idalia’s center crosses into southern Georgia.
Aug 30, 10:47 AM EDT
40-foot trees snap in half
Libby Greg captured on camera the moment 40-foot trees snapped in half in her yard in Perry, Florida, in the Big Bend region.
One of the trees fell on the house and her child screamed out. But the family is safe, Greg told ABC News.
Aug 30, 10:25 AM EDT
1 death reported in Pasco County
One death has been attributed to the hurricane in Pasco County, Florida, just north of Tampa.
A driver lost control and collided with a tree, suffering fatal injuries, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Aug 30, 10:20 AM EDT
Over 268,000 without power in Florida
More than 268,000 customers are without power in Florida as Hurricane Idalia hammers the state.
Aug 30, 10:18 AM EDT
Winds move into Georgia
Sustained winds from Hurricane Idalia are down to 105 mph as the storm’s damaging winds spread from Florida into southern Georgia.
Aug 30, 9:59 AM EDT
Nearly 900 flights canceled
Airlines have canceled at least 898 flights as Hurricane Idalia strikes Florida.
Tampa, Atlanta, Jacksonville and Orlando are the airports seeing the biggest impacts.
ABC News’ Sam Sweeney
Aug 30, 9:28 AM EDT
Over 245,000 without power in Florida
More than 245,000 customers are without power in Florida as Hurricane Idalia hammers the state.
Aug 30, 9:10 AM EDT
Idalia down to Category 2
Hurricane Idalia, which is pummeling Florida, has weakened from a Category 3 to a Category 2 following landfall Wednesday morning.
Meteorologists are still warning of “catastrophic” storm surge along Florida’s Big Bend coast.
Aug 30, 8:44 AM EDT
Wind gusts up to 85 mph in Florida
Wind gusts up to 85 miles per hour were recorded in parts of Florida on Wednesday morning after Hurricane Idalia made landfall as a Category 3 storm.
As of 8:37 a.m. ET, there were 85 mph gusts in Perry and Bucell Junction, 81 mph in Horseshoe Beach, 73 mph in Mayo and 67 mph in Sarasota.
Aug 30, 8:25 AM EDT
Over 160,000 customers without power in Florida
More than 160,000 customers were without power in Florida on Wednesday morning as Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the Sunshine State.
As of 8:12 a.m. ET, about a half hour after landfall, there were 161,326 Florida customers without power, according to data collected by PowerOutage.us.
Aug 30, 8:14 AM EDT
Idalia moving just inland from Florida’s Big Bend coast
Minutes after making landfall in Florida’s Big Bend region, the eye of Hurricane Idalia was moving just inland from the coast with maximum sustained wind speeds at 120 miles per hour, according to the latest advisory from the National Weather Service.
As of 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the storm was moving northeast at 18 mph and its eye was located about 10 miles southeast of Perry, the National Weather Service said.
Aug 30, 7:50 AM EDT
Idalia makes landfall as ‘extremely dangerous’ Category 3 hurricane
Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend region on Wednesday morning as an “extremely dangerous” Category 3 hurricane, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm touched down near Keaton Beach at around 7:45 a.m. ET.
Aug 30, 7:16 AM EDT
Over 99,000 customers without power in Florida
More than 99,000 customers were without power in Florida on Wednesday morning as Hurricane Idalia closed in on the Sunshine State.
As of 7:02 a.m. ET, there were 99,307 Florida customers without power, according to data collected by PowerOutage.us.
Aug 30, 7:08 AM EDT
Idalia weakens slightly into Category 3 hurricane
Idalia was downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane on Wednesday morning as the storm approached Florida and its maximum sustained winds weakened slightly from 130 to 125 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.
A Category 4 hurricane begins at 130 mph winds.
“This change in wind speed does not diminish the threat of catastrophic storm surge and damaging winds,” the National Weather Service warned in its latest advisory.
Aug 30, 7:02 AM EDT
Idalia to make landfall in Florida’s Taylor County in 2 hours, DeSantis says
During a press conference at 6:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Hurricane Idalia is expected to make landfall in Taylor County in the Big Bend region in the next two hours.
The Category 4 hurricane is forecast to touch down in Keaton Beach, about 75 miles southeast of Tallahassee, according to Kevin Guthrie, executive director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
DeSantis said a “life-threatening” storm surge of up to 16 feet could hit the Big Bend region.
There is currently a 2 to 3 foot storm surge in Tampa and a 4 foot storm surge in Cedar Key. The storm surge is expected to increase over the next few hours, Guthrie said.
The hurricane impact will reach far from the eyeball, potentially as far as Tallahassee and northeastern Florida. Search and rescue teams will be deployed across the state once the winds die down, according to the governor.
Aug 30, 6:23 AM EDT
Extreme wind warning issued for Florida’s Big Bend area
The National Weather Service has issued an extreme wind warning that’s in effect until 9:15 a.m. ET on Wednesday for Western Dixie and Southern Taylor counties in the Big Bend area of Florida.
A weather radar indicated extreme winds associated with the eyewall of Hurricane Idalia were moving onshore 34 miles southwest of Steinhatchee, Florida.
“This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation,” the National Weather Service Warned in its latest advisory.
Aug 30, 6:12 AM EDT
Tornado watch issued for Tampa, Savannah
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch that’s in effect until 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday for parts of Florida and Georgia, including the major cities of Tampa and Savannah.
The watch area will “likely” see a few tornadoes and possibly damaging wind gusts up to 75 miles per hour, the National Weather Service said.
Aug 30, 5:46 AM EDT
Catastrophic storm surge, destructive winds near Florida’s Big Bend area
The Florida Panhandle is bracing for Hurricane Idalia to make landfall as a major Category 4 storm on Wednesday morning.
As Idalia approaches Florida’s northern coastline, south of Tallahassee, tornadoes are starting to develop in the region. The National Weather Service has issued tornado warnings that are in effect Wednesday morning throughout the Sunshine State, including near Orlando. A tornado watch was also issued for areas including Orlando and Tampa.
Idalia is forecast to make landfall in the Big Bend area, north of Tampa, at around 7:30 a.m. ET. Extreme winds over 100 miles per hour could get close to Tallahassee and major power outages are expected there.
A storm surge is already flooding most of the coastal Tampa Bay area, including Treasure Island. The Tampa Bay area is seeing a storm surge of up to 6 feet. The storm surge could reach 16 feet near Cedar Key and the Big Bend area, according to the National Weather Service.
As Idalia moves through Georgia and into the Carolinas later Wednesday, it will push water from the Atlantic Ocean onto the shore. A storm surge of up to 5 feet is possible in Savannah, Georgia, as well as Charleston, South Carolina, and up to 4 feet in coastal North Carolina, the National Weather Service said.
Meanwhile, heavy rain and flooding is expected from Georgia to the Carolinas on Wednesday and into Thursday as Idalia tracks northeast along the coast of the southeastern United States, according to the National Weather Service.
Aug 30, 5:19 AM EDT
Over 50,000 customers without power in Florida
More than 50,000 customers were without power in Florida early Wednesday as Hurricane Idalia approached the Sunshine State.
As of 5:11 a.m. ET, there were 56,954 Florida customers without power, according to data collected by PowerOutage.us.
Aug 30, 5:09 AM EDT
Idalia ‘rapidly intensifies’ into Category 4 hurricane
Idalia “rapidly” intensified into a Category 4 hurricane early Wednesday as it moved closer to the Florida Panhandle, the National Weather Service said.
As of 5 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Idalia’s maximum sustained winds were at 130 miles per hour. The storm was moving northeast at 18 mph and its eye was located 60 miles west of Cedar Key and 90 miles south of Tallahassee, according to the National Weather Service.
Idalia is forecast to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in Florida’s Big Bend area at around 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday.
Aug 30, 4:39 AM EDT
Idalia expected to become Category 4 hurricane
Idalia is expected to become a Category 4 hurricane early Wednesday as it nears the Florida Panhandle.
As of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Idalia’s maximum sustained wind speeds were at 125 miles per hour, making it a Category 3 hurricane, according to the National Weather Service. A Category 4 hurricane begins at 130 mph.
The storm was moving northeast at 17 mph and its eye was located 90 miles west of Cedar Key and 60 miles south of Tallahassee. Idalia is forecast to strengthen further before making landfall later Wednesday morning in Florida’s Big Bend area, north of Tampa.
“Catastrophic storm surge and destructive winds expected in the Florida Big Bend region this morning when Idalia moves inland,” the National Weather Service said in its latest advisory.
Aug 30, 2:23 AM EDT
Idalia strengthens into Category 3 hurricane
Idalia strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane early Wednesday as maximum sustained wind speeds reached 120 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.
“Idalia rapidly intensifies into a major hurricane,” the National Weather Service warned in its latest advisory.
The storm is forecast to strengthen further, becoming a Category 4 hurricane before it makes landfall later Wednesday morning on Florida’s Big Bend coast, north of Tampa.
“Idalia is likely to still be a hurricane while moving across southern Georgia, and possibly when it reaches the coast of Georgia or southern South Carolina late today,” the National Weather Service said.
Aug 30, 12:46 AM EDT
Idalia expected to reach wind speeds of at least 130 mph
Hurricane Idalia is now forecast to make landfall as a Category 4 storm around 8 a.m. ET Wednesday. It’s expected to have winds in excess of 130 mph, with the most extreme winds passing just southeast of Tallahassee.
By Wednesday night, around 8 p.m. ET, Idalia is expected to be a Category 1 storm and pass near Savannah, Georgia. Late Wednesday night will also likely see Idalia pass directly over Charleston, South Carolina, either as a Category 1 or a tropical storm.
Aug 29, 11:21 PM EDT
Idalia forecast to make landfall in Florida as Category 4 hurricane
Idalia is still strengthening and is forecast to be at “extremely dangerous Category 4 intensity” when it makes landfall, the National Weather Service said late Tuesday.
As of 11 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Idalia remains a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds at 110 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm’s landfall track is for an area near Perry and St. Marks at around 8 a.m. ET. The northern part of the eye wall may move very close to Tallahassee.
Aug 29, 10:26 PM EDT
Tornado watch issued for parts of Florida
A tornado watch has been issued until 6 a.m. ET for 3.7 million people in the western peninsula of Florida.
This means tornadoes are possible to form in the outer bands of Hurricane Idalia through the night.
Aug 29, 8:47 PM EDT
Hurricane Idalia remains Category 2, winds reach 105 mph
Hurricane Idalia remains a Category 2 storm with sustained winds up to 105 mph.
Idalia is moving at 16 mph to the north and is now 155 miles away from Tampa, Florida.
Hurricane and storm surge warnings in Florida are in effect for Englewood, Longboat Key and Tampa Bay, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Aug 29, 6:26 PM EDT
Idalia’s flight impacts
More than 2,200 flights Tuesday are delayed and over 500 flights are canceled across the U.S. as Idalia nears.
So far, more than 500 U.S. flights are canceled for Wednesday.
Currently the Tampa International Airport and St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport are closed. Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is set to close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Aug 29, 6:21 PM EDT
Now is the time to evacuate, DeSantis says
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urged people ordered to evacuate to leave now if they haven’t already.
“If you are in an evacuation zone and you’ve been directed to evacuate, particularly if you’re in a low-lying area or coastal area, in that Big Bend region, now’s the time to do it,” DeSantis said during a press briefing. “If you wait much longer, by the time we get in further into tonight, the weather is going to start getting nastier and nastier.”
Over 50 shelters have been set up throughout the state, he said.
Idalia is expected to intensify to a Category 3 hurricane overnight, the National Hurricane Center said.
The impact of the eyewall is expected to arrive sometime Wednesday morning, DeSantis said.
The National Hurricane Center warned in its latest advisory that “life-threatening” storm surge could reach 10 to 15 feet in some of the Big Bend area.
Aug 29, 6:09 PM EDT
Latest path shows Idalia making landfall southeast of Tallahassee
The latest track shows Hurricane Idalia making landfall southeast of Tallahassee in the northern Big Bend area. This is a bit farther west than the previous track.
Idalia is then expected to skirt across southern Georgia and the Carolinas with tropical storm force gusts and flooding rain Wednesday through Thursday.
Isolated tornadoes will also be possible.
Extreme winds are possible far inland off the Florida coast because of how quickly the storm is moving — even Gainesville to Valdosta could see 110 mph winds.
-ABC News’ Melissa Griffin
Aug 29, 5:55 PM EDT
5,500 Florida National Guardsmen will be ready to assist with storm
Some 5,500 Florida National Guardsmen will assist with storm prep and response across the state, a Pentagon spokesperson said.
Over 3,000 Guardsmen have been fully activated, while another 1,800 are on their way, according to Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh.
The Department of Defense is also prepared to assist as needed, according to Singh.
“Prior to the storm landing, the department stands ready to assist the state of Florida, FEMA and state and local officials in any recovery efforts that are needed,” Singh said during a press briefing.
-ABC News’ Matt Seyler
Aug 29, 5:08 PM EDT
Idalia now a Category 2 hurricane
Idalia has strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center, which warned of “life-threatening storm surge and hurricane conditions” expected along parts of the Gulf Coast of Florida Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Hurricane #Idalia Advisory 13: Idalia Now a Category 2 Hurricane. Life-Threatening Storm Surge and Hurricane Conditions Expected Along Portions of the Gulf Coast of Florida Tonight and Wednesday. https://t.co/tW4KeGe9uJ
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 29, 2023
Aug 29, 3:05 PM EDT
South Carolina declares state of emergency
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has declared a state of emergency as Idalia nears.
South Carolinians should prepare for heavy rain, flooding, rough winds and possible tornadoes.
Aug 29, 2:53 PM EDT
DeSantis: Expect ‘significant impacts’ inland
It’s not just Florida’s west coast at risk.
Residents of North Florida’s inland counties should anticipate “significant impacts” from Idalia, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a press briefing.
The time to implement emergency plans “is running out very, very rapidly,” he warned.
-ABC News’ Hannah Demissie and Will McDuffie
Aug 29, 2:32 PM EDT
FEMA: ‘This storm will be deadly if we don’t get out of harm’s way’
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell stressed at Tuesday’s White House briefing that Idalia’s storm surge could be especially dangerous.
“This storm surge, this is one of the highest-risk parts of a hurricane and is especially problematic along the west coast of Florida due to the underwater geography,” Criswell said. “The coastal shelf gets shallow very quickly, which increases the amount of the storm surge, putting more people at risk. Very few people can survive being in the path of major storm surge, and this storm will be deadly if we don’t get out of harm’s way and take it seriously.”
Storm surge in Florida’s Big Bend area is now expected to reach 15 feet. Tampa is still expected to see a storm surge of 4 to 7 feet, which is enough to flood very vulnerable coastal areas.
“If you are in a storm surge warning area, it could mean just traveling 10 or 20 miles to get out of the most significant impact areas,” she said. “It does not mean having to travel hundreds of miles.”
Criswell also called on Congress to approve more funding for disaster responses. She said FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund is running low at $3.4 billion, and said she’s ordered FEMA to focus on the Maui fires, Idalia and any other extreme weather events through the end of the fiscal year at the end of September.
-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson
Aug 29, 2:19 PM EDT
Idalia’s flight impacts
Over 1,400 flights Tuesday are delayed and 505 flights are canceled across the U.S. as Idalia nears.
So far, 425 U.S. flights are canceled for Wednesday.
The Tampa International Airport closed at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and the St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport will close at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
-ABC News’ Amanda Maile
Aug 29, 1:07 PM EDT
Georgia declares state of emergency
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has issued a state of emergency for Georgia, where Idalia is forecast to bring heavy rains, rough winds, flooding and possible tornadoes.
“Georgians in the expected impact area can and should take necessary steps to ensure their safety and that of their families,” Kemp said in a statement. “We are well positioned to respond to whatever Idalia may bring.”
Aug 29, 12:16 PM EDT
Big Bend region should expect downed trees, power lines
Hurricane Idalia will likely leave a lot of debris, downed trees and downed power lines as it churns through the woodlands of Florida’s Big Bend region, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference Tuesday.
“When you look at where this storm is going to hit, there is a lot of heavily wooded areas, so you’re going to see a lot of these trees knocked down, you’re going to see power lines knocked down, and it’s just going to require a concerted effort,” he said.
The governor said he anticipated between 30,000 and 40,000 linemen to be in Florida by the time Idalia makes landfall to help restore power.
-ABC News’ Hannah Demissie and Will McDuffie
Aug 29, 12:02 PM EDT
Tampa mayor: ‘Mother nature wins every time’
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is urging residents to move inland on Tuesday as Idalia nears.
Tampa Bay is forecast to get hit with 4 to 7 feet of storm surge, which will flood coastal areas.
“Mother nature wins every time. So if you have the opportunity to evacuate … you should,” Castor warned at a news conference.
Idalia could strengthen to a powerful Category 3 by landfall with winds at 125 mph.
Once winds reach a certain speed, rescue crews will not be able to go help, Tampa Fire Chief Barbara Tripp said.
Tripp also advised residents to evacuate, but she noted that for those who choose to stay home, be sure to charge electronics and have enough food, water and medication for 72 hours.
Aug 29, 11:54 AM EDT
Idalia may make landfall as powerful Category 3 hurricane
Idalia, now a Category 1 hurricane, is forecast to intensify and make landfall between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Wednesday as a powerful Category 3 hurricane with winds of 125 mph. (A Category 4 hurricane begins with 130 mph winds.)
Storm surge in Florida’s Big Bend area is now expected to reach 15 feet.
Tampa is still expected to see a storm surge of 4 to 7 feet, which is enough to flood very vulnerable coastal areas.
Powerful winds reaching about 74 mph are forecast to spread inland to Tallahassee and Valdosta, Georgia.
Flooding will be a concern from Florida to North Carolina. Some areas could see 1 foot of rain in just 24 to 48 hours.
Tornadoes are also possible from Tampa Bay, Orlando and Jacksonville up to Savannah, Georgia, and Wilmington, North Carolina.
-ABC News’ Max Golembo
Aug 29, 11:07 AM EDT
Walt Disney World remains open
Walt Disney World Resort, located near Orlando, said that as of Tuesday, its resorts and theme parks are open and “operating under normal conditions.”
“We are closely monitoring the path of the projected weather as we continue to prioritize the safety of our Guests and Cast Members,” the resort said.
The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ABC News.
Aug 29, 10:04 AM EDT
DeSantis addresses balancing hurricane management with presidential campaign
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Tuesday that the “nasty weather” from Hurricane Idalia will reach the Gulf Coast Tuesday night and he urged residents to implement their action plans immediately.
“We are going to be faced with a major hurricane hitting the state of Florida within the next 24 to 36 hours,” he said.
“You still have some time this morning and into the early afternoon. But as we get throughout this day, you are going to start to see rain and wind pick up, particularly the further south you are in the state of Florida,” he said. “And by the time we get to the end of tonight, you know, you’re going to see some nasty weather, so just be warned about that and do what you need to do right now.”
Asked about balancing crisis management with campaigning for president, DeSantis said, “You do what you need to do.”
He said he was “in the midst of a governor campaign” during Hurricane Ian in 2022.
“I had all kinds of stuff scheduled not just in Florida, around the country, you know, we were doing different things. And, you know, you do what you need to do, I mean, and so that’s what we’re doing. And so it’s going to be no different than what we did during Hurricane Ian,” he said.
-ABC News’ Hannah Demissie and Will McDuffie
Aug 29, 9:54 AM EDT
North Carolina declares state of emergency
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency ahead of Idalia, which is expected to bring heavy rain and possible flooding to the state.
“It is important for North Carolinians to gather emergency kits and prepare for the storm before it’s too late,” Cooper said in a statement.
Aug 29, 8:20 AM EDT
Idalia’s winds increase to 80 mph
Hurricane Idalia’s maximum sustained winds increased to 80 miles per hour on Tuesday morning as the storm moved over the Gulf of Mexico, the National Weather Service said.
As of 8 a.m. ET on Tuesday, the storm was moving north at 14 mph and its eye was located about 320 miles southwest of Tampa, Florida. Idalia is expected to intensify further and become “an extremely dangerous major hurricane” before it makes landfall Wednesday morning in Florida’s Big Bend area, north of Tampa, according to the National Weather Service.
Aug 29, 5:32 AM EDT
Idalia strengthens into hurricane with 75 mph winds
Idalia strengthened from a tropical storm into a hurricane early Tuesday as maximum sustained winds reached 75 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.
Idalia is “expected to rapidly intensify into an extremely dangerous major hurricane” before making landfall in Florida on Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service said in its latest advisory. Winds are forecast to reach 120 mph by Tuesday night.
As of 5 a.m. ET on Tuesday, the eye of the storm was located about 85 miles north of the western tip of Cuba and about 370 miles southwest of Tampa, Florida. The storm was moving north at 14 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
A hurricane warning, which means hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area, remains in effect for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio as well as parts of Florida, starting from the middle of Longboat Key northward to Indian Pass, including Tampa Bay. Other weather alerts were still in effect for more areas of Cuba and Florida, as well as Georgia and South Carolina.
Aug 28, 6:38 PM EDT
FAA ‘closely monitoring’ Idalia, airlines issue travel notices
Airlines and The Federal Aviation Administration said it’s monitoring Tropical Storm Idalia as it heads to the U.S.
The FAA posted on social media that it’s “closely monitoring” Idalia’s path, but it isn’t responsible for closing airports and canceling flights.
American Airlines issued a travel alert that allows its customers whose plans are impacted by Idalia to rebook their flights without incurring a change fee.
Southwest Airlines said it anticipates some changes to its schedule and an impact on its operation as the storm approaches. The airline has issued a travel advisory for its customers.
United Airlines has issued travel waivers for customers traveling to and from impacted airports. The company said it’s working to ensure its team is prepared to deal with the expected severe weather.
Aug 28, 6:15 PM EDT
Evacuation orders issued for multiple Florida counties
Multiple counties in Florida are under mandatory and voluntary evacuations as Tropical Storm Idalia barrels toward the state.
People living in zones in Pinellas, Pasco, Citrus, Hillsborough, Levy, Manatee, Sarasota and Taylor counties must evacuate the area, according to multiple county officials.
County officials are also urging people living in mobile homes, low-lying areas and along the coast to leave the area as Idalia approaches.
Officials in Hernando, Jefferson, Manatee and Pasco counties have also issued voluntary evacuation orders for particular zones.
-ABC News’ Michael Pappano, Jianna Cousin and Robinson Perez
Aug 28, 3:24 PM EDT
FEMA encourages everyone in Idalia’s path to ‘get prepared today’
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is encouraging everyone in Idalia’s path to “get prepared today.”
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell spoke to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and “emphasized the agency’s actions and readiness to support the state’s needs.” FEMA is also “closely coordinating” with Georgia and South Carolina to provide support as needed.
President Joe Biden also spoke with DeSantis earlier Monday and approved an emergency declaration.
-ABC News’ Justin Gomez
Aug 28, 11:53 AM EDT
Tampa International Airport to close
Tampa International Airport will close at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday as Idalia nears.
A hurricane warning has been issued from the Tampa Bay area up to the Apalachicola area.
Aug 28, 11:49 AM EDT
Idalia could become hurricane on Monday, major hurricane by Tuesday night
Idalia is forecast to strengthen to a hurricane on Monday and may become a major hurricane by Tuesday night.
Landfall is currently forecast for 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday in Florida’s Big Bend region.
Storm surge is expected to be a major threat and could reach as high as 11 feet in the Big Bend area.
Up to 1 foot of rain could drench the Florida Panhandle and tornadoes are possible in Tampa and Orlando.
Idalia will move north Wednesday afternoon and evening, bringing heavy rain and potential flash flooding to Georgia and the Carolinas. Idalia will head out to sea on Thursday.
ABC News’ Max Golembo
Aug 28, 11:36 AM EDT
Idalia could be strongest hurricane for Big Bend since 1950
Idalia is currently forecast to make landfall along Florida’s Big Bend region between Apalachicola and Tampa as a Category 3 hurricane. If this happens, it will mark the strongest landfall for the Big Bend region since 1950, when Category 3 Hurricane Easy made landfall in Cedar Key.
Idalia’s potential landfall in Florida.
No hurricanes have ever made landfall in the Big Bend region stronger than Category 3.
It has been more than half a century since a hurricane of category 2 strength or stronger…
If Idalia makes landfall as a Category 2, it will be the first in the region since Gladys in 1968.
ABC News’ Kenton Gewecke
Aug 28, 11:04 AM EDT
Pasco County, Hillsborough County schools to close
As Idalia approaches, the Pasco County School District, north of Tampa, said its schools will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Schools in Hillsborough County, which encompasses Tampa, will also be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
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