Tropical Storm Idalia is moving through the Carolinas today after leaving a trail of flooding and destruction throughout the southeast. Up to half a million people lost power in Florida and other states.
Even though the storm wasn’t as damaging as feared, the high winds still destroyed homes and sent debris flying while the rains and storm surge turned streets into rivers.
Idalia made landfall on Florida’s west coast as a dangerous Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds near 125 mph. Those winds ripped off roofs and snapped tall trees and stop signs.
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Some roads in northern Florida were briefly impassible with downed power lines strewn across streets.
In Tallahassee, the Florida governor’s wife posted a picture on social media of a 100-year-old oak tree falling on the governor’s mansion. Casey DeSantis and her three children were home at the time, but she says, “Thankfully no one was injured.”
100 year old oak tree falls on the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee — Mason, Madison, Mamie and I were home at the time, but thankfully no one was injured.
Our prayers are with everyone impacted by the storm. pic.twitter.com/l6MOE8wNMC
— Casey DeSantis (@CaseyDeSantis) August 30, 2023
Meanwhile, the storm surge from Idalia inundated hundreds of businesses and left entire neighborhoods submerged under water.
In Crystal River, Florida, drone footage showed widespread flooding. County sheriff officials there used rescue airboats to evacuate residents trapped by high waters.
And beyond Florida, Idalia was a harrowing experience for some.
In Goose Creek, South Carolina, a motorist captured a dramatic moment as a tornado sent a car flying. Thankfully, no serious injuries there.
Still, residents from southwest Florida to North Carolina are breathing a sigh of relief after Hurricane Idalia left less damage than feared.
“Just thanking God every minute that you know we’re still here and you know this stuff is nothing long as everybody’s okay,” said storm survivor Patty Picket.
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Some communities along Florida’s Gulf Coast face a long cleanup ahead.
“We’re going to go with it and have a good attitude about it. You know, we can rebuild all of this,” said Marsha Doll, a resident of Perry, FL.
In Perry, a small mill town located just inland from Florida’s Big Bend region where Idalia came ashore, folks were already out clearing debris shortly after the storm’s passing.
“I think this city really came together. I see it in a lot of people helping people, a lot of people reaching out to each other, strangers, people I’d never seen before in my life,” said Tyler Ware of Perry. “Everybody’s trying to make sure everybody else is okay.”
Even so, Idalia remained a threat – after racing through Florida, moving up the Southeast with storm surge, damaging winds, tornadoes, and flooding rain to parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.
Operation Blessing teams who hunkered down in Valdosta, GA during the storm now plan to stage their relief operations in Homosassa, FL working with their relief network partners and a local church there to distribute essential supplies. CLICK HERE to give to Operation Blessing Disaster Relief.
“There’s need for food currently, there’s need for water, there’s need for basic necessities that would think that you would already have with you but currently they don’t have any,” Operation Blessing’s Steffany Horton told CBN’s Faith Nation.
We are on the ground in Georgia this afternoon waiting for the remnants of #HurricaneIdalia to pass. A team is ready to respond to needs in Florida with a mobile kitchen and supplies as soon as the area opens.
— Operation Blessing (@operationbless) August 31, 2023