Your Florida Daily: Hurricane Idalia slams into The Sunshine State

Idalia marks only 2nd Category 3 storm to slam into Big Bend area

Cedar Key flooding from Idalia (Cedar Key Fire Rescue)

Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend as a major Category 3 major storm.

Just before 8 a.m. Idalia came ashore near Keaton Beach with 125 mph winds snapping trees and causing transformers to blow in the nearby town of Perry.

“Don’t put your life at risk by doing anything dumb at this point. This thing is powerful,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news briefing Wednesday morning. “If you’re inside just hunker down until it gets past year. You don’t want to be messing around with these winds. There’s going to be things flying all over the place. Obviously, if you’re in a place that’s close to the coast and you see that surge that’s going to be legitimate surge is going to be a big ,big deal and it’s going to be very, very dangerous.”

Wednesday morning, more than 100,000 Floridians were without power — mainly in the Panhandle and in Pinellas County.

Overnight, the storm brought spun up almost a dozen different tornado warnings and watches, though it does not appear any tornados actually touched the ground.

In St. Petersburg, many streets are several inches underwater and bridges were closed because of the strong wind.

Storm surge is expected to get worse into the afternoon along the west coast as the tide moves in.

“I’m most concerned about the 12-15 foot of storm surge that is likely for the area between Cedar Key and Apalachicola Bay,” said Kevin Guthrie, Executive Director of Florida’s Emergency Management Division.

Florida isn’t the only state feeling Idalia’s wrath.

Damaging winds and heavy rain are moving into Georgia and the Carolinas late Wednesday and Thursday morning where states of emergency are in effect.

Random Florida Fact

No better time than now for a hurricane history fact.

Preliminary data from NOAA shows Hurricane Idalia has tied as the strongest landfall in Florida’s Big Bend region.

Only two other Category 3 hurricanes have previously tracked anywhere between Apalachicola and Homosassa Springs, dating to the 1850s.

The only other Category 3 hurricane in this region was the September 1896 hurricane, whose eyewall plowed across Cedar Key with estimated 125 mph winds — just like Idalia.

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About the Author:

Katrina Scales is a producer for the News 6+ Takeover at 5:30 p.m. She also writes and voices the podcast Your Florida Daily. Katrina was born and raised in Brevard County and started her journalism career in radio before joining News 6 in June 2021.