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Hurricane Idalia makes landfall live updates: Florida Big Bend and Keaton Beach hit hard

Update:
FILE PHOTO: A mandatory evacuation sign is seen ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Idalia, in Cedar Key, Florida, U.S., August 29, 2023. REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo

Hurricane Idalia: latest news

Headlines:

- Idalia reaches Category 4 hurricane status Wednesday morning ahead of making landfall along Florida coast

Hurricane Idalia path forecast to take storm over Florida's Big Bend

- Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for 46 counties in Florida

- Schools closed in advance of Idalia's arrival

- Mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders in over 20 counties

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Restoring power to homes

According to governor Ron DeSantis, utility linemen have already restored power to more than 260,000 households that lost power due to the storm.

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Hurricane Idalia on Wednesday

Footage of Hurricane Idalia in Florida today.

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Biden: "There's much more to do"

President Biden on Hurricane Idalia: "There's much more to do. If there's anything the states need right now, I'm ready to mobilize that support."

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Rayleigh Scattering

That sky!

'Rayleigh Scattering' - when cirrus clouds scatter red wavelengths of light.

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Idalia’s winds subside

After smashing through Florida this morning, Idalia now has maximum sustained winds of nearly 80 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in a 1:00 p.m. ET update, meaning it is now milder than the 125 mph winds recorded during landfall.

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Serious structural damage

This footage of the storm surge shows the serious structural damage to condos in Cedar Key, FL.

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Florida this morning

A time-lapse video of the Gulf coastal community Steinhatchee in Florida on Wednesday morning. 

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Know your hurricane categories

What happens with a category 1 hurricane and how does it differ from a category 5?

This helpful tweet explains it all.

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Hurricane Idalia makes landfall

Keaton Beach on Florida's West coast was the spot where the hurricane made landfall with winds in excess of 125 mph.

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Cedar Key (FL) an hour ago

Extreme meteorologist Reed Timmer was on hand to bring the latest from Cedar Key in Florida where Hurricane Idalia continues to batter the coastline.

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Idalia knocks out camera

Florida's Horseshow Beach Camera was providing us with some impressive footage.

I'll restate the key word there... 'was'.

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Idalia warnings ignored

The reason we still have to put big labels on bottles of bleach saying 'do not drink' is because, well, some people.

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Idalia surge

More footage here from the coast in Tampa Bay as some reports suggest the core is showing some signs of weakening.

Let's see how it progresses.

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Florida awaits Cat-4 Idalia

As self-described 'hardcore hurricane chaser' Josh Morgerman posts, this very much feels like the relative calm before the destructive storm.

Stay safe, folks!

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Idalia Cat 4: 130 mph winds

This graphic shows the latest projections of where Hurricane Idalia is reaching. The Big Bend area at 8am is likely to feel its strength.

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Idalia hits Category 4

In the last few minutes, the NHC has announced what we were expecting, stating that 'Idalia has become an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane, and is nearing landfall in Florida Big Bend region this morning.'

It adds that 'Catastrophic & life-threatening impacts from Storm Surge & Winds expected as Idalia moves ashore.'

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Idalia moves to a Cat 3

Digital meteorologist from Baron Weather has shared this graphic showing how the hurricane has shifted from a Category 1 to a 3 in recent hours.

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"Idalia rapidly intensifies into a major hurricane"

Update from the NHC following its note from late last night:

Hurricane #Idalia advisory 14A: Idalia rapidly intensifies into a major hurricane. Catastrophic storm surge and destructive winds expected in the Florida Big Bend region this morning when Idalia moves inland.

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Pack up and go, Idalia is here

"If you have not evacuated, you need to do that right now. You need to drop what you're doing. You need to go to your room, pack up, pack your things and get to safety."

Kevin Guthrie, Florida emergency management chief

Idalia shows its strength

This footage from the Florida coast shows the concerning power that, we believe, is only going to get worse.

Follow your local evacuation advice.

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Idalia: Category 2 heading to 4

The U.S. National Hurricane Center announced that Hurricane Idalia has the potential to intensify significantly, possibly reaching the extremely hazardous Category 4 status, as it arrives at the Big Bend coast of Florida this morning.

Presently classified as a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, the storm is positioned approximately 125 miles (200 km) to the west of Tampa, Florida.

It comes with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kph), as reported by the forecasting center situated in Miami.

One concern is that the storm emergency services may also be restricted due to the severity of the surge.

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'St. Elmo's Fire' recorded as plane evacuated

We will continue to bring you news updates on what is happening with Hurricane Idalia, as well as related insights.

Here is some interesting footage from a plane being evacuated at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, showing "St. Elmo's fire", which is also known as Witchfire or Witch's Fire, a weather phenomenon in which luminous plasma is created by a corona discharge.

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How Hurricane Idalia appears from space

Quite incredible footage coming from above the skies over Florida and beyond.

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Last chance to evacuate before the hurricane hits says DeSantis

"If you hunker down tonight, it's going to be too nasty tomorrow morning" to evacuate, he said in a press conference.

"You don’t need to travel hundreds of miles away, you don’t need to outrun the storm," he added.

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What is the difference between category 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes? What potential damage can they cause?

Hurricanes are classified into different categories based on their wind speeds and potential for damage. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is commonly used to categorise hurricanes from Category 1 to Category 5, with Category 1 being the least severe and Category 5 the most severe.

Here’s a breakdown of the categories and the damage they can wreak.

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What is the path of the hurricane?

Hurricane Idalia is still expected to reach the Big Bend area this morning, before moving northeast near the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina through Wednesday and Thursday.

Winds could initially be 130 mph.

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Hurricane Idalia in Florida: Who should evacuate? Complete list of areas with evacuation orders

Idalia threatens Florida’s Gulf coasts with “life-threatening storm surge,” as well as flash and urban flooding throughout the state. Because of this, the government has issued evacuation orders in various areas, especially in coastal counties.

Who should evacuate?

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View of Hurricanes Idalia and Franklin in close proximity from space

Hurricane Franklin has grown into a Category 4 monster of a storm currently making its way toward Bermuda. Hurricane Idalia, currently a Category 2, has the potential to become a major storm in its own right forecasted to reach Category 3 before it makes landfall, predicted to be Wednesday morning.

Were the two to get closer to each other,the Fujiwhara Effect explains what would happen.

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Idalia path moves slighty to the west, still aiming for Big Bend

The latest models for Idalia's path have the potentially Category 4 hurricane when it makes landfall slamming into the Florida Gulf Coast slightly further north and west, still in the Big Bend region. After which it is forecast to move inland over southern Georgia before going out over water again exiting near the North-South Carolina border.

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Hello and welcome to AS USA's live coverage of Hurricane Idalia

Florida is bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Idalia plowing north through the Gulf of Mexico potentially becoming a Category 4 before it makes landfall on the Gulf Coast of the Sunshine State on Wednesday morning.

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