Striking photos show water-logged communities after Hurricane Idalia brought disastrous flooding and powerful winds to the Gulf Coast of Florida on Wednesday, when it made landfall along the state’s Big Bend region as a dangerous Category 3 storm.
Satellite images captured the damage in some hard-hit areas, including Ozello and Crystal River, two neighboring coastal communities that sit less than 100 miles north of Tampa Bay.
Idalia made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane
After initially striking land with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, Idalia gradually decreased in strength while tracking north into Georgia and eventually moving into South Carolina on Wednesday night. Meteorologists downgraded the hurricane to a tropical storm in the late afternoon as wind speeds declined.
Videos and photos of the storm’s aftermath showed flooded streets from Tampa to Tallahassee, Florida’s capital city, as well as downed trees and power lines and damaged homes across the area. The National Weather Service had warned of “catastrophic storm surge and destructive winds” impacting the Big Bend region — where the Florida peninsula meets the panhandle — as a result of the hurricane. The center of Idalia crossed over the border into Georgia by 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday, according to the hurricane center, which said at the time that the storm was continuing to increase water levels along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Idalia had crossed into South Carolina by 8 p.m. ET.
The National Weather Service office in Tallahassee said due to wind damage, “locations may be uninhabitable for several weeks or months.”
The storm passed west of Cedar Key, where resident Michael Presley Bobbitt said in his 20 years on the island he has never seen water “rise out of the gulf in such an angry way,” according to NewsNation.