United States: Storm Adalia continues its course in the Southeast, and Florida heals its wounds

United States: Storm Adalia continues its course in the Southeast, and Florida heals its wounds

Florida will begin Thursday to assess the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Adalia, which caused record high water levels and widespread flooding and continues its destructive path on the coast of the southeastern United States.

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The force of Hurricane Idalia turned into a tropical storm after its landfall in Florida on Wednesday, and headed in particular to the neighboring state of Georgia, where it was accompanied by heavy rains that reached 25 cm, and the rise in water levels threatened coastal residents and power outages.

On Thursday morning, more than 310,000 homes in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina lost power, according to the specialized PowerOutage.us website.

So far, no deaths have been reported, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned that “the situation could change very much” given the size of the storm.

Authorities warned that emergency services would need time to assess the damage in isolated areas that are difficult to reach due to falling trees or rising waters.

Making landfall at 7:45 a.m. local time on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center in Florida said the hurricane had sustained winds of up to 215 kilometers per hour and caused water levels to rise up to 5 meters in certain coastal areas.

Idalia hit Florida as a Category 3 hurricane on a scale of 5, according to the National Hurricane Center, then lost intensity even as it continued to carry violent winds that could reach nearly 100 kilometers per hour in Georgia and in the Caroline to the south.

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“We still have a lot of flooding in the city,” Ben Almquist, director of emergency services in Charleston, South Carolina, told CNN.

Flooded streets

But the authorities are hoping for a noticeable improvement as of Thursday morning local time.

“Everything should get better once it gets past midnight (Wednesday),” Ron Morales, a Charleston-based US Weather Service official, predicted in an interview with local press.

Idalia is expected to complete its flight over the Atlantic Ocean sometime Thursday.

Mass evacuation orders were issued on Wednesday for thousands of Florida residents, although many of them preferred to hide in their homes.

And in Berry, a town on the Idalia Way, dozens of trees were downed by the wind. A pine tree fell on the home of John Calschmidt, 76, who says he had a “terrifying” experience.

“It was worse than we expected,” he told AFP. “But that’s the way it is, that’s life in Florida. You have to get used to that kind of thing.”

A little farther on, in Stenhaci, a small seaside town of a thousand, the almost deserted main street, apparently an extension of the adjacent river, was completely flooded.

Climate change

“The trees fell in front of my house but otherwise the house survived. Everything is fine,” Patrick Boland told AFP.

And in the Tampa Bay area, where nearly 3 million people reside, roads have been flooded, sometimes forcing residents to travel by boat.

Federal authorities deployed more than 1,000 emergency personnel to the area, amid calls for vigilance from the White House.

“Idalia is the strongest storm to make landfall in this part of Florida in over 100 years,” Dean Creswell, head of the federal agency responsible for natural disaster response, said Wednesday.

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Hurricane Idalia was felt all the way to the western tip of Cuba where heavy rains also caused flooding and power outages.

Scientists have warned that the storms are getting stronger as the planet warms due to climate change.

“I don’t think anyone can deny the effects of climate change right now. Just look around,” Joe Biden noted, citing the recent “historic floods” or devastating fires in Hawaii and Canada.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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