United States, Severe Weather, Level 5: Disruptions due to Hurricane Idalia in Florida and other southeastern states – USA [Update 17]

Update 2023-08-30 (5): According to the sources, around 280,000 households and businesses were reportedly without power on Wednesday (30 August) as Hurricane Idalia lashed Florida.

Update 2023-08-30 (4): According to current media reports, at least 1,000 flights of various US airlines were cancelled on Wednesday (30 August). Meanwhile, the mayor of Savannah, Georgia, declared a state of emergency. In Florida, two people were killed in separate traffic accidents during the storms.

Update 2023-08-30 (3): According to reports, Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the Big Bend area in western Florida on Wednesday morning (30 August, local time) as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of up to 200 km/h. It has been reported that over 160,000 residents are already without power in Florida due to the storm. There have been reports of significant storm surge, flooding, and strong winds impacting areas in Florida. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled so far on Wednesday (30 August) at airports in Florida (Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, Sarasota, Tallahassee), Georgia (Atlanta), South Carolina (Charleston), North Carolina (Charlotte), and elsewhere. Further flight cancellations and delays cannot be ruled out.

Update 2023-08-30 (2): According to reports, Hurricane Idalia strengthened into a Category 4 storm at around 5 am on Wednesday (30 August, local time). The storm is currently producing sustained winds of up to 215 km/h, however it has not yet made landfall. Storm surge of up to between 3.5 to 5 metres has been forecast for some coastal areas of Florida between Sarasota and Indian Pass. There were reports of flooding and disruptions in Pinellas County on Wednesday morning (30 August, local time). Winds of up to 97 km/h have also been reported in Pinellas County. The ports of Jacksonville, Fernandina, and Canaveral in Florida have been closed since Tuesday night (29 August, local time) due to the storm. Reportedly, around 5,500 members of the National Guard have been dispatched to Florida ahead of the storm. Curfews will be in place beginning at 9 pm on Wednesday (30 August, local time) in Thomas County and Thomasville, Florida due to the storm. During the curfew, residents are not permitted to leave their homes. Residents have been advised to avoid any unnecessary travel. It has also been reported that if the winds get too strong, emergency response services in Thomas County will be temporarily suspended.

Update 2023-08-30 (1): According to reports, Hurricane Idalia was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane during the night to Wednesday (30 August, local time). Hurricane Idalia is now forecast to become a Category 4 hurricane before it makes landfall over Florida at around 6 am on Wednesday (30 August, local time). It has been reported that the full moon is expected to cause higher tides than normal and exacerbate the impact of the storm. There have also already been reports of high tides flooding highways and leading to canals overflowing in Florida. It has been reported that at least 30 counties in Florida are now under evacuation orders. Reportedly, the SunRail service in Orlando has been suspended and bridges are expected to close once winds reach around 65 km/h. As the storm approaches the coast of Florida, heavy rainfall and strong winds are expected to continue. Tornado warnings may also be issued in certain areas. Residents in northern Florida and southern Georgia should reportedly prepare for widespread, long-term power outages. A state of emergency was also declared in South Carolina on Tuesday (29 August). Hurricane-force winds may impact areas of Georgia and South Carolina. Hurricane watches are in effect in these areas.