Idalia Leaves Trail of Destruction in Southeast

Storm hits Carolinas after lashing Florida, Georgia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 31, 2023 6:35 AM CDT
Idalia Leaves Trail of Destruction in Southeast
A man wades up Sea Mountain Highway in North Myrtle Beach, SC on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023 after the passage of Hurricane Idalia.   (Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)

Tropical Storm Idalia descended on the Carolinas on its way out to the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, leaving a trail of flooding and destruction throughout the Southeast that stretched back to its landfall as a hurricane in Florida. Rescue and repair efforts continued in the areas the storm passed Wednesday and there was no immediate word on the toll from the ferocious winds and inundating waters, but authorities counted at least one death.

  • Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk says a man in Valdosta, Georgia, died when a tree fell on him as he tried to clear another tree out of the road, the AP reports. "The guy was out working on cleaning up a tree in the road, just a local citizen doing good things," Paulk says. "A big gust of wind came up and dropped another tree, killed him instantly."
  • No hurricane-related deaths were officially confirmed in Florida, but the state's highway patrol reported two people killed in separate weather-related crashes just hours before Idalia made landfall.
  • The storm left as many as a half-million customers without power in Florida and other states at one point as it ripped down power poles and lines. Still, it was far less destructive than feared, providing only glancing blows to Tampa Bay and other more populated areas as it came ashore with 125mph winds in the rural Big Bend area of Florida.

  • The weakening storm still packed winds of up to 60mph as it blasted through Georgia and South Carolina on Wednesday evening. It was expected to reach the North Carolina coast Thursday and roll off into the ocean through the weekend. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, who declared a statewide emergency earlier this week, warned residents in coastal and eastern inland counties to prepare for heavy rainfall and localized flooding and urged them to stay off roads covered by water.
  • In South Carolina, the storm coupled with king tides to send seawater flowing over sand dunes and spilling onto beachfront streets. In Charleston, a surge from Idalia topped the seawall that protects the downtown, sending ankle-deep ocean water into the streets.
  • Bands from Idalia also brought short-lived tornadoes. One flipped a car in suburban Goose Creek, South Carolina, causing minor injuries, authorities said. No major damage was reported.
  • Officials in Bermuda warned that Idalia could hit the island early next week as a tropical storm. Bermuda was lashed on Wednesday by the outer bands of Hurricane Franklin, a Category 2 storm that was on track to pass near the island in the north Atlantic Ocean.
(In Florida, a century-old oak tree fell at the governor's mansion.)

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