My family luckily avoided a hit from this storm as it passed Southern part of the state. But every year fingers are crossed. To all PNO Ex-Pats that might have been affected, heres hoping all get back to normal soon.
Florida began this Thursday, August 31, to assess the damage caused by the devastating floods as a result of the passage of Hurricane Idalia, which was downgraded to a storm and is now advancing along the southeastern coast of the United States.
Idalia made landfall in Florida this Wednesday, August 30, after beginning its trajectory on Monday in Cuba and now threatens the state of Georgia with torrential rains and more flooding in coastal areas, where residents are already suffering power outages.
In Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, more than 310,000 homes were without power on Thursday morning, according to the specialized portal PowerOutage.us.
Authorities have not reported casualties, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, warned that “this could change” given the magnitude of the storm.
State officials indicated that rescue teams are operational, but admitted that it may take time to reach areas blocked by falling trees or flooding.
Idalia broke into Florida, near Keaton Beach, as a category 3 hurricane on a scale of 5, with winds of up to 215 km/h at 7:45 am this Wednesday, according to the United States National Hurricane Center (NHC, for its acronym in English).
In some areas of the coast, the waters rose up to five meters, according to the NHC.
Later, Idalia lost strength, but generated winds near 100 km/h in Georgia and South Carolina.
“There is still a lot of flooding” in Charleston, South Carolina, the city’s emergency management director, Ben Almquist, told CNN on Wednesday night.
The authorities hope that the situation will improve as of this Thursday morning.
“Everything should get better once (Wednesday) night passes,” Ron Morales, a National Service meteorologist in Charleston, projected in statements to local media.
According to projections, the storm will finish its journey in the Atlantic this Thursday.
Authorities called thousands of people in Florida to evacuate, although some residents refused to leave their homes.
In Perry, an affected city, dozens of trees were uprooted by the wind.
A pine tree fell on the home of 76-year-old John Kallschmidt, who said it was a “terrifying” experience.
“It was worse than we expected,” he told AFP. “But that’s the way it is, that’s life in Florida.”
In Steinhatchee, a small city of about 1,000 people located on the coast 30 kilometers south of Keaton Beach, the almost deserted main street was completely inundated and seemed like an extension of a neighboring river.
“Some trees fell in front of my house, but otherwise the house was saved. Everything is fine,” Patrick Boland, a 73-year-old man who locked himself in his home, told AFP.
In the Tampa Bay area, where there are more than 3 million residents, the streets were flooded and some residents had to use boats to get around.
More than 1,000 rescuers were deployed by federal authorities, after the White House called for enhanced surveillance.