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Idalia brings widespread damage, but few injuries and deaths

One person died in Georgia after a tree fell on them, officials said. Search and rescue operations are ongoing amid heavy flooding and wind damage.
Idalia brings widespread damage, but few injuries and deaths
Posted at 8:43 PM, Aug 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-30 22:43:38-04

Officials say one person has died as a result of Hurricane Idalia's extreme weather this week.

Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said one person died in Georgia on Wednesday when a tree fell on him.

Florida has not reported any deaths as an immediate consequence of the storm. The Florida Highway Patrol says two people died in weather related traffic crashes shortly before Idalia made landfall.

The storm struck Florida's Nature Coast as a Category 3 hurricane on Wednesday morning. By Wednesday evening it had shed intensity to become a tropical storm over Georgia and the Carolinas.

SEE MORE: Tropical Storm Idalia brings rain, flooding to Georgia and Carolinas

The storm brought significant coastal surges, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall to four states. At least one tornado touched down in a suburb of Charleston, South Carolina, where it caused two people minor injuries.

Floodwaters surged in coastal communities in Florida, closing roads and prompting rescue efforts by the Florida National Guard. 

"Search and rescue operations have been ongoing from the moment that the storm passed," said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. "In the hardest hit areas, and they've probably gone through about 70% of the areas that they need to to be able to check for people that are in distress. And, you know, so far, all signs have been positive. There is, of course, a lot of debris to clean up, but we will get working with that, with the local communities to make sure that the roads are cleared and people can go back to their lives."

Heavy winds downed trees and power lines in Georgia.

Floodwaters overtopped barriers in Charleston, South Carolina, spreading ankle-deep water through the downtown region. High tide was measured nearly three feet higher than normal.

The storm disrupted power for some half a million customers across Florida and Georgia, authorities said. 

President Biden has told governors in Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina that his administration is ready to help states recover.

Idalia is expected to proceed off the East Coast. Officials in Bermuda warned it may present tropical storm threats to the island later this week.

In 2022, 149 people died in Florida after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Lee County and the cities of Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

SEE MORE: Hurricane Idalia slams Florida, pushes north. Here's how you can help


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