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Florida begins to assess damage after Hurricane Idalia: Recap

Idalia ripped through Florida as a major hurricane before it headed to Georgia and South Carolina as a weakened, but still powerful, tropical storm.

For a full story on recovery efforts, click here.

More on Idalia

  • Idalia moved offshore today, but remains a tropical storm.
  • Around 300,000 customers were without power in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina early this morning.
  • Idalia could drop up to 8 inches of rain in the Carolinas, and forecasters warn that flash flooding, urban flooding and moderate river flooding are possible.
  • The storm made landfall in Florida's Big Bend just before 8 a.m. ET yesterday as a Category 3 hurricane after having strengthened to Category 4.
  • Satellite images captured the flooding in Florida's Big Bend.
  • Some residents who rode out Hurricane Idalia at home in Florida had to "swim out of their windows."
25d ago / 7:55 PM UTC

Immigrants wonder if DeSantis law will limit their ability to rebuild Florida after Idalia

As Florida residents emerge from Hurricane Idalia, some have started to assess the damage and clean up after the trail of destruction the storm left behind.

Among them are Mexican workers Alberto, Maggie and Jorge Vidal, who weathered out the storm inside a 30-room hotel where they work, in the city of Perry.

The Vidals got down to work shortly after the hurricane passed, even before the hotel’s manager was able to return to the building.

That’s when it became clear to them that immigrant construction workers like them will be key to rebuilding what Idalia destroyed.

“This is where all the immigrants that the governor wants to push out are needed,” Maggie Vidal told Noticias Telemundo in Spanish. “Who is going to do all of this work? There is a lot, a lot of work here.”

She was referencing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stringent immigration law that imposes restrictions and penalties to deter the employment of undocumented workers in Florida.

Since it went into effect on July 1, some farm and construction workers have moved out the state because of fears around the law.

Read the full story here.

25d ago / 7:54 PM UTC

Gov. DeSantis announces disaster aid for Florida after Hurricane Idalia

Aug. 31, 202303:31
25d ago / 6:43 PM UTC

Idalia's impact in N.C.: 2 possible tornadoes, 35K in the dark, nearly 80 roads closed due to floods

Idalia has caused some localized flooding, downed trees and power outages in North Carolina, state officials said in a news release today. 

The storm brought two “possible tornadoes” in Brunswick and New Hanover counties, dumped 2 to 6 inches of rain across eastern North Carolina, shuttered schools, and closed down 79 roads due to flooding, the state Department of Public Safety and Gov. Roy Cooper said.

At the peak of the power outage, 35,000 were left in the dark across the state. As of 11 a.m., there were a little more than 14,000 outages, the release said. 

Flash flooding may continue as additional rainfall continues to pose a threat in the state, the governor warned.

“I appreciate so many people stepping up to take precautions and there is still the possibility of heavy rain, gusty winds and storm surge, particularly in eastern North Carolina,” Cooper said. “It’s important that people stay off flooded roads and continue to listen to local officials.” 

25d ago / 6:24 PM UTC

Biden addresses response to Idalia at FEMA headquarters

Aug. 31, 202305:21
25d ago / 6:13 PM UTC

Steinhatchee still without power, reeling from Idalia

STEINHATCHEE, Fla. — Cleanup was underway in the small coastal community Thursday afternoon after Hurricane Idalia sent more than 5 feet of water rushing into homes along the Steinhatchee River.

Half a dozen local church members were helping Richard Carmichael, 79, clear his riverfront property. The storm wiped out the first floor of his home, destroying furniture and leaving mud caked on the floor.

Carmichael, a Florida native, tried to prepare the best he could before evacuating. He moved lamps and small appliances to the kitchen counter and raised couches and chairs high off the floor.

“I thought I was prepared, but I didn’t put the stuff up high enough,” Carmichael said. “It came up about 5 1/2 feet in here. What I have to do is take all this stuff and dump it.”

A brown line shows high the water rose in Richard Carmichael's house in Steinhatchee, Fla.
A brown line shows how high the water rose in Richard Carmichael's house in Steinhatchee, Fla.Minyvonne Burke / NBC News

Despite the destruction, Carmichael is maintaining a positive attitude, saying, “I’ve been blessed. I’m still living.”

He said he plans to live only on the second floor of his home in the future.

“I’m going to leave this empty down here so I won’t have to go through this again,” he said.

Large trees and downed power lines still blocked streets leading to the marina Thursday. Debris remains scattered across front yards, and portions of a destroyed boat dock floated in the river. The town has not had electricity since the hurricane rolled through.

Richard Carmichael's house in Steinhatchee, Fla.
Richard Carmichael's house in Steinhatchee, Fla.Minyvonne Burke / NBC News

Jessup Evans, 18, also evacuated with his family. He described watching as the hurricane slammed boats into a bridge near the marina.

“The water was enormous. I’ve never experienced anything like it,” he said.

Evans’ family home was spared. He spent Thursday helping a local restaurant clean up.

25d ago / 5:59 PM UTC

22 water rescues required in Charleston, but city ‘dodged a bullet,’ mayor says

CHARLESTON, S.C. — City officials said emergency personnel responded to nearly two dozen water rescues Wednesday night as high tides fueled by Idalia quickly flooded some streets downtown, but the city “really dodged a bullet again.”

“We had 22 water rescues, predominantly removing people from vehicles in flooded areas,” Dan Curia, the fire chief of the city of Charleston, said during a news conference early Thursday afternoon. “Most of the activity for the department was between the hours of 7 p.m. and midnight.”

There was also a 30% increase in call volume, he said.

Still, Mayor John Tecklenburg said Charleston “really dodged the bullet again.”

“We’re really blessed,” he said.

Mayor John Tecklenburg at a news conference in Charleston, S.C. on Aug. 31, 2023.
Mayor John Tecklenburg at a news conference Thursday. Michael Wiser for NBC News

Officials said there were 51 road closures throughout the city, but they have all since reopened.

City officials said the flooding highlighted the need to construct a sea wall around the Charleston peninsula to help protect against storms and rising sea levels. The city has been working with the Army Corps of Engineers to design such a wall, but it has received pushback from some local residents who worry it would be too tall and imposing.

A Charleston City Police Officer picks up a road barricade in preparation to block off Lockwood Dr in Charleston, S.C., on Aug. 30, 2023
A Charleston city police officer blocks off Lockwood Drive in Charleston on Wednesday.Michael Wiser for NBC News

If the sea wall had been built in time for Idalia, “the peninsula would have been dry,” said Dale Morris, the city’s chief resilience officer.

“None of the damage that we’re seeing now coming in and the damage assessments would have occurred,” he said. “The flooding on the streets on the peninsula would not have occurred.”

25d ago / 5:38 PM UTC

Florida communities survey the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia

Aug. 31, 202302:47
25d ago / 4:28 PM UTC

Cleanup begins in Charleston after Idalia flooded streets

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Workers were busy clearing mud and debris from streets and roads the morning after Idalia brought some of the highest tides on record to Charleston Harbor.

Dark brown mud, leaves, branches and sea shells coated some streets this morning around the Battery, where waters breached the wall and filled streets shin deep last night. Tiny crabs moved quickly on the walkway.

Alex Garcia, 55, shoveled swamp grass and downed branches from the streets around homes as Jesus Selvas, 47, cleared debris with a leaf blower near a downed metal construction fence.

Alex Garcia, 55, shovels debris from Tropical Storm Idalia in Charleston, S.C. on Aug. 31, 2023.
Alex Garcia shovels debris this morning.Michael Wiser for NBC News

“Truthfully, it’s impressive, everything that’s left,” Garcia said in Spanish. “There’s a lot of garbage to clean up. Lots of people are going to be busy today.”

Nearby, city workers removed a large log with a mini track loader and raked the streets.

While Charleston was largely spared the worst of the storm, officials were assessing any damage as people cleaned streets to return to normalcy.

“Everything was flooded here, all the streets and boardwalk,” Selvas said. “This is going to take days to clean. The dirt left behind is ugly.”

D.J. Hampton, president and CEO of Trident United Way, said the organization received almost 490 calls in the last 36 hours related to the storm, including people looking for shelter and food.

Crews remove logs and debris washed up from Tropical Storm Idalia in Charleston, S.C. on Aug. 31, 2023.
A city worker removes logs this morning.Michael Wiser for NBC News

“We’re really grateful that we were spared the worst of the Idalia,” he said, but the organization was assessing community needs.

He said several staff members were “severely impacted“ by the storm after losing power and being near flooded roads.

Kenny Wiggins works to clean city sidewalks around Waterfront Park in Charleston, S.C. following Tropical Storm Idalia on Aug. 31, 2023.
Kenny Wiggins cleans debris from a sidewalks around Waterfront Park in Charleston.Michael Wiser for NBC News

“Today, locally is about assessing and cleanup that we need to do to support our own community after the storm,” he said, adding that advocacy groups were also now turning to how they could help neighboring states, such as Florida, where the storm brought destruction to coastal communities.

25d ago / 4:02 PM UTC

One storm-related death reported in Georgia

A person died in Lowndes County, Georgia, from a tree falling on a vehicle, James C. Stallings, director of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, said today. 

“We do have one reported fatality in Lowndes County,” he said in a storm briefing. “Other than that, there are a lot of minor injuries that have occurred, storm-related injuries.”

The victim was not named and officials said their thoughts are with the victim’s families. 

That brings Idalia's known death toll to three. Two people died in weather-related car accidents in Florida, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

25d ago / 3:39 PM UTC

Idalia's center moving off North Carolina coast

The center of Tropical Storm Idalia is now moving east of the North Carolina coast, forecasters said in an 11 a.m. update

Strong winds and storm surge are occurring in the eastern part of the state, and an earlier tropical storm warning has been discontinued west of Cape Fear. 

Idalia is now located about 85 miles southeast of Cape Lookout, traveling east at 20 mph with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. 

As Idalia swirls into the Atlantic, its effects will still be felt in North Carolina where moderate river flooding, strong winds and coastal flooding will continue today. 

25d ago / 3:28 PM UTC

Biden calls DeSantis, talks about federal aid

President Joe Biden called Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this morning, saying he signed a major disaster declaration and ordered all available federal resources to aid with Idalia response efforts.

“The president reiterated that the people of Florida have his full support as they recover from the storm,” the White House reported in a statement.  

25d ago / 2:30 PM UTC

25d ago / 2:09 PM UTC

40 rescues in Florida, power slowly returning to state: DeSantis

Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a hurricane briefing this morning that 40 rescues were reported last night, with 29 done by the state’s National Guard. 

Several agencies are assisting with medical evacuations and conducting welfare checks as locals emerge after bunkering down amid Idalia. 

The state is prioritizing clearing roads and restoring power as about 146,000 remain in the dark, DeSantis said. State officials said in the briefing that every available lineman is working on restoring power, especially in the hard-hit Big Bend area.

The governor praised local officials and residents for heeding evacuation warnings.

"I think citizens responded very appropriately and then to be here where you have a storm hitting at close to 130 mph, just under a Cat 4, and not, as of now, have any reported fatalities, is probably something that most people would not have bet on four or five days ago knowing how strong the storm was going to get," DeSantis said.

25d ago / 1:28 PM UTC

Rain and gusty winds batter North Carolina coast

Rain and gusty winds are battering parts of the North Carolina coast, with Idalia expected to move offshore today.

The system will maintain tropical storm strength through the day before gradually weakening tomorrow and Saturday.

For now, rain bands and gusty winds are battering the coast from Wilmington up to Norfolk, with flash flooding, urban flooding and river flooding all possible.

25d ago / 1:20 PM UTC
25d ago / 1:18 PM UTC

Biden approves South Carolina emergency declaration

President Joe Biden approved South Carolina’s emergency declaration today and ordered federal assistance to aid in Idalia response efforts. 

The action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts in the state. 

25d ago / 12:27 PM UTC

Idalia to move offshore of North Carolina, dumping rain along the way

Tropical Storm Idalia will move offshore of North Carolina today, and on its way out it's dumping heavy rain in the eastern part of the state, forecasters said.

Idalia was about 65 miles southeast of Wilmington in North Carolina around 8 a.m. ET, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in an update.

The National Weather Service office in Raleigh earlier warned that isolated flash flooding was possible over the eastern Sandhills and the coastal plain, as well as gusty winds of 35-40 mph over the Sandhills this morning.

"In the forecast track, the center of Idalia will move just offshore of the coast of North Carolina today. Idalia will then move eastward over the western Atlantic into the weekend," the weather service said in an 8 a.m. ET update.

25d ago / 11:56 AM UTC

Two other named storms swirling in the Atlantic Ocean


As Idalia continues to make its way across the Southeast, two other named storms are churning in the Atlantic Ocean as well.

Hurricane Franklin, located about 200 miles north-northeast of Bermuda, is moving further away from the island and is causing dangerous surf and rip current conditions along the Eastern Seaboard, with its maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. 

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jose formed overnight and is located about 800 miles east-southeast of Bermuda, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, moving north at 5 mph. 

25d ago / 11:44 AM UTC
25d ago / 11:30 AM UTC

Outages continue across Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas

More than 300,000 utility customers across Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas continued to be without power early this morning amid Idalia's devastation.

More than 149,000 customers were still without power in Florida around 7:30 a.m. ET, while more than 109,000 were affected by outages in Georgia, according to

In South Carolina, power was out for more than 25,000 utility customers, while more than 29,000 were impacted in North Carolina.

Efforts to restore power have been underway, with some of the tens of thousands of homes and businesses in Florida already reconnected after Idalia made landfall in the Big Bend region.

25d ago / 9:31 AM UTC
25d ago / 9:16 AM UTC

Life-threatening conditions still hitting North Carolina, hurricane center warns

Flooding and heavy rainfall continue to cause life-threatening conditions in parts of eastern North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center has warned.

"A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline in the indicated locations," it said in a 5 a.m. ET update.

A tropical storm warning is in effect, from the South Santee River to the Virginia border, as well as Pamlico and Albemarle sounds, and a storm surge warning covers coastal communities, including Beaufort and Ocracoke inlets.

The storm is expected to move east beyond the North Carolina coast at some point today — but tropical storm winds at its center could still reach 185 mph. Tornadoes are also possible in the area, the hurricane center said.

25d ago / 8:25 AM UTC

Homes slowly reconnected to power grid in Florida and Georgia

Some of the thousands of households without power as a result of Idalia have been reconnected.

In Florida 143,000 customers remain without power, compared to some 150,000 late yesterday, according to the tracking website as of 4 a.m. ET today.

Idalia slammed into northwest Florida as an "extremely dangerous" Category 3 storm early Wednesday, buffeting coastal communities with cascades of water as officials warned of "catastrophic" flooding in parts of the southern US state.
A mobile home lies in the middle of a road in Steinhatchee, Fla., yesterday.Chandan Khanna / AFP - Getty Images

In Georgia 118,000 customers are without power, a reduction from 149,000 overnight.

More than 50,000 customers are without power in the Carolinas, according to

25d ago / 8:17 AM UTC

Photo: Hurricane aftermath in Horseshoe Beach, Florida.

A pickup truck sits halfway into a canal in Horseshoe Beach, Fla., after the passage of Hurricane Idalia yesterday.

Hurricane Idalia
Rebecca Blackwell / AP
25d ago / 7:59 AM UTC

Floridians describe terror of escaping storm damage

PERRY, Florida — Many homes here didn't stand a chance.

Devastating winds and a storm surge combined to make Idalia the strongest weather event to hit the Big Bend in more than a century, with some communities completely cut off.

Florida Hurricane Idalia
Jewell Baggett stands beside the wreckage of her mother’s home in Horseshoe Beach, Fla., yesterday. Rebecca Blackwell / AP

One family in Perry survived massive trees crushing their home. Summer, holding her baby, Amelia, while sheltering in her car, said: "It was kind of terrifying, honestly."

Her husband, Brandon, heard a tree snap and jumped on top of his family to protect them. "It was what anyone would do," he said.

25d ago / 7:45 AM UTC

Idalia could hit Bermuda next week

Officials in Bermuda warned that Idalia could hit the island early next week as a tropical storm.

Bermuda was being lashed today by the outer bands of Hurricane Franklin, a Category 2 storm that was on track to pass near the island in the North Atlantic.

25d ago / 7:31 AM UTC
25d ago / 7:13 AM UTC

Flooding 2- to 3-feet-deep seen in McClellanville, fire district says

A photo from the South Carolina coastal community of McClellanville showed roads the fire district estimated to be flooded 2-3 feet.

The photo was shared on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, by the Awendaw-McClellanville Fire District, which estimated the depth. Answering the National Weather Service in Charleston, the fire district said the flooding was believed to be from storm surge.

25d ago / 6:23 AM UTC

Idalia southwest of Myrtle Beach

Tropical Storm Idalia was about 20 miles southwest of Myrtle Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph around 2 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said in an update.

The storm continued to move northeast at 21 mph, it said.

26d ago / 5:52 AM UTC

Video shows waves crashing in Charleston, South Carolina

26d ago / 5:32 AM UTC

Tampa and Tallahassee international airports to resume full operations

Tampa International Airport announced it intends to resume its full operations at 3 a.m. today.

It reopened to arriving flights yesterday afternoon after Idalia had moved away from the area.

Though the airport had some flooding, there was no serious storm damage, it said.

Normal operations are also expected to resume today at Tallahassee International Airport.

26d ago / 4:54 AM UTC

Idalia producing 'very heavy rain'

Idalia remained a tropical storm late last night and was producing “very heavy rain” in South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said in an update.

The center of the storm was around 15 miles north-northwest of Charleston at 11 p.m., the agency said. It had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.

Some storm surge warnings were discontinued, but a storm surge warning remained for a stretch of the South Carolina coast from the Savannah River to the South Santee River, which includes Charleston.

The storm is expected to move offshore sometime today, according to the hurricane center.

26d ago / 4:51 AM UTC

Peak wind gusts from around South Carolina

26d ago / 4:51 AM UTC

Satellite images capture Hurricane Idalia’s flooding in Florida’s Big Bend

Satellite images illustrate the damage in Florida’s Big Bend where Hurricane Idalia made landfall.

The Category 3 storm made landfall near Keaton Beach with sustained wind speeds topping 125 mph just before 8 a.m. yesterday.

Idalia flooded streets, downed power lines, snapped trees, destroyed homes and brought activity to a halt for a time yesterday.

Read the full story here.

26d ago / 4:51 AM UTC
26d ago / 4:51 AM UTC

Florida had feared the worst while still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Ian, which hit the heavily populated Fort Myers area, killing 149 people in the state. Unlike that storm, Idalia blew into a very lightly inhabited area known as Florida’s “nature coast,” one of the state’s most rural regions, which lies far from crowded metropolises or busy tourist areas and features millions of acres of undeveloped land.

That doesn’t mean it didn’t do major damage. Rushing water covered streets near the coast and unmoored small boats, and nearly a half-million customers in Florida and Georgia lost power.

In Perry, the wind blew out store windows, tore siding off buildings and overturned a gas station canopy. Heavy rains partly flooded Interstate 275 in Tampa, and wind toppled power lines onto the northbound side of Interstate 75 just south of Valdosta, Georgia.

Less than 20 miles south of where Idalia made landfall, businesses, boat docks and homes in Steinhatchee, Florida, were swallowed up by water surging in from Deadman’s Bay. Police officers blocked traffic into the coastal community of more than 500 residents known for fishing and foresting industries.