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Hurricane Idalia leaves dead, cancels hundreds of flights and wreaks havoc in Florida; Georgia is next target

Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida as a Category 3 storm on Wednesday morning, hitting mostly the central region of the state. As it made its way through the territory, the storm lost strength and is approaching Georgia as a Category 1.

Idalia’s maximum sustained winds are now 80 mph (137 km/h) with strong gusts, according to the latest position update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The storm is about 40 kilometers from a town in Georgia.

The storm should continue in the state until Wednesday night, when its center crosses over to South Carolina – which is already suffering impacts from the phenomenon.

Florida, known as the “sunshine state,” has seen clouds close in, tides rise, winds over 200 km/h, power outages and airports closed. In addition, it recorded two deaths in weather-related accidents.

A 59-year-old Gainesville man was driving a pickup truck in “extremely rainy conditions” at around 7 a.m. [horário de Brasília]when it swerved and fell into a ditch, according to an accident report from the Highway Police.

According to another accident report, a 40-year-old Spring Hill man was driving a pickup truck at 7:15 a.m. [horário de Brasília], during bad weather that preceded the arrival of the Idalia. The driver was “travelling too fast for the conditions” and “lost control”, according to the highway patrol.

Around the same time, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urged people to heed warnings from emergency officials to protect themselves and “don’t play with these winds.”

“This level of storm is life threatening. Don’t go out in the middle of this storm. If it’s calm where you are, conditions can change very quickly. So wherever you are, hunker down and don’t take anything for granted here. This is a very, very powerful storm.”

“Just crouch down until she passes you. You don’t want to play with those winds. There will be things flying all over the place,” she reinforced.

Some regions have recorded record sea rises, such as Cedar Key on Florida’s Gulf Coast, which peaked at eight to eight feet. Water levels were nearly 2 meters above the highest normal tides, surpassing Hurricane Hermine’s 2016 record of 1.83 m.

Source: CNN Brasil

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