Saturday, September 23, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 7, 1445 H
scattered clouds
30°C / 30°C

Idalia lashes Carolinas as Florida’s Gulf Coast begins recovery

No Image

PERRY: Tropical Storm Idalia on Thursday was drenching the Carolinas with heavy downpours that threatened to cause dangerous flooding while Florida’s Gulf Coast began recovery efforts after the system tore through the area as a Category 3 hurricane.

The back end of the storm, which was headed northeast towards the sea, was producing torrential rains that could amount to 23 cm in some spots along the regions coastline early on Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

The service warned the rain could produce life-threatening flash flooding, especially in low lying areas and along rivers, through the morning and into the afternoon. Storm surge warnings were also in effect for several ocean front communities as heavy rains and fierce winds remained in the forecast.

“Driving conditions may become dangerous,” the service said in an advisory, urging residents to remain vigilant after many motorists became stranded on Wednesday. “Extreme rainfall rates could result in urban and flash flooding which may prompt water rescues.”

As of Thursday morning, the storm was about 72 km southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, carrying winds of 60 mph as it drifted northeast. Idalia was expected to curl eastward off North Carolina and out into the Atlantic on Thursday night, the NHC said.

The rough conditions in the Carolinas come a day after Idalia crashed ashore at Keaton Beach in Florida’s Big Bend region, lashing the coast with sustained winds of up to 201 kph, accompanied by torrential rains and pounding surf.

Local, state and federal authorities will assess the full extent of damage across the region in the days ahead. Insured property losses in Florida were projected to run $9.36 billion, investment bank UBS said in a research note.

In Taylor and Hernando counties, National Guard troops pulled stranded motorists to safety, while emergency teams plying submerged streets in boats rescued dozens of people from floodwaters in St. Petersburg.

Boat rescues of trapped residents also took place in at least one town in the neighbouring state of Georgia, where Idalia turned as it weakened and drifted northward out of Florida.

Electricity outages from fallen trees, utility poles and power lines were widespread, as were wind-damaged and flooded buildings, in hard-hit communities such as Perry.

In all, more than 315,000 homes and businesses were without power in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas early on Thursday morning. — Reuters

arrow up
home icon