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IDALIA HAMMERS FLORIDA

Local News 30 Aug, 2023 Follow News

IDALIA HAMMERS FLORIDA

Some residents of southern Florida still recovering after being slammed by Hurricane Ian last year, have once again been hammered by another major hurricane.

This time it’s Hurricane Idalia which made landfall on Wednesday morning as a Category 3 hurricane after being downgraded from a Cat 4 shortly before it hit.

When Hurricane Ian hammered the area last year in September it was a ferocious Category 5 storm.

Idalia was packing winds of 125mph (175km/h) when it hit causing potentially life-threatening conditions. The storm has caused extensive flooding and property damage and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate although all did not heed the warnings.

Hurricane Idalia briefly strengthened into an extremely dangerous Category 4 over the Gulf of Mexico early Wednesday but then weakened slightly back to a Category 3 before making landfall over Florida’s Big Bend region.

While damage to those areas that suffered a direct hit from Ian last year is likely to be less severe, incomplete reconstruction is expected to complicate matters for them.

Hurricane Idalia was expected to cause the most damage in the sparsely populated area known as the Big Bend located in the Florida panhandle in the north-west of the state bordered by Alabama on the north and the west, Georgia on the north, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south.

Occupants of mobile homes in the Big Bend area had been advised to seek safe shelter due to the risk of potentially devastating winds and flooding from heavy rainfall accompanied by storm surges from the sea.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) had warned of a catastrophic storm surge occurring along the coast of the Florida Big Bend and damaging winds spreading inland over northern Florida.

Officials said some areas may be uninhabitable for several weeks or months because of wind damage and the storm surge.

Meteorologists tracking Hurricane Idalia expected it to cut a swathe of destruction across northern Florida, parts of Georgia and the Carolinas, decreasing in strength before turning into the Atlantic Ocean and heading toward the general vicinity of Bermuda by Monday. By then it is forecast to possibly curve further to the south with decreasing strength due to unfavourable atmospheric conditions.

Meanwhile, as the 2023 Hurricane Season peaks, weather experts are closely tracking several other weather systems that have developed.

The US National Hurricane Center is still tracking Hurricane Franklin located a couple of hundred miles west-northwest of Bermuda, and Tropical Depression Eleven, located several hundred miles east-southeast of Bermuda.

In the Eastern Tropical Atlantic a broad area of low pressure associated with a tropical wave located near the Cabo Verde Islands is producing an area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms.

According to the NHC, environmental conditions appear conducive to the gradual development of this system, and a tropical depression is likely to form later this week while the system initially moves west-northwestward and then turns northwestward across the eastern tropical Atlantic.


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