Hurricane Idalia makes landfall over Florida’s Big Bend as Category 3 storm, tens of thousands without power

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Hurricane Idalia has made landfall over Florida’s Gulf Coast as a “catastrophic” Category 3 storm that has already left tens of thousands of residents without power, officials said Wednesday morning.

Idalia is producing storm surges of up to 16 feet in some areas, damaging winds howling up to 125 miles per hour, and historic freshwater flooding that has completely encompassed Floridian roadways, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee called Idalia “an unprecedented event” as no major hurricanes – those classified as Category 3 or higher – have made landfall through the Big Bend region since hurricane data was first recorded in 1851. The NWS also said “no one” has witnessed a storm strengthen to such magnitude in such a short time.

The storm passed the Apalachee Bay and made landfall over Florida’s Big Bend region, where the peninsula merges into the Panhandle. It is directly impacting Gainesville, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Dowling Park, Lake City, Cedar Key, Chiefland, Newberry, Cross City, Apalachicola, Perry and other Florida cities. Its impact will also be felt in Orlando, Spring Hill, Bradenton, Bartow, Ocala, Lake Placid, Tampa, Sarasota, and Fort Myers.

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