Hurricane Idalia Devastated Southeast

Beginning in the Gulf of Mexico, the storm tore through Florida, Georgia and Carolinas

By Isaiah Miesle and Justin Malone, Guest Writer and World News Editor

Hurricane Idalia, the third hurricane and ninth named storm of the summer season, ravaged multiple states in the Southeast, leaving three reported dead and thousands without power. Now classified as a post-tropical cyclone, Idalia drifted out to the Atlantic Ocean on Aug. 31 with winds around 65 mph on a path moving toward the island of Bermuda.

Idalia, which made landfall near Keaton Beach in Florida’s Big Bend coastline as a high-end Category 3 storm on Aug. 30, brought sustained wind speeds howling around 125 mph and storm surge waters around 16 feet, according to the National Hurricane Center. The hurricane created extensive flash flooding as it passed through Florida while damaging trees, submerging neighborhoods and downing electrical wires across the state.

Idalia then continued north into Georgia and the Carolinas, with large amounts of rain and heavy winds generating flash flooding throughout the states, leaving more than 300,000 people without power in the four states after the storm. According to, which tracks electrical outages across the U.S., around 20,000 people in Florida remained without power yesterday.

Photo courtesy of
Hurricane Idali reached category four hurricane status, leading to sever damage throughout Southeastern U.S. The hurricane led to power outages, extreme high wind and heavy and heavy flooding.

Idalia initially formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Aug. 27, becoming a hurricane as it passed near the western tip of Cuba. Experts believe that abnormally warm sea surface temperatures caused the storm to intensify rapidly. 

“The town, I mean, it’s devastated. It’s probably 50 or 60 homes here, totally destroyed. I’m a lucky one, a few limbs on my house. But we’re going to build back. We’re going to be strong,” James Nobles, a resident of Horseshoe Beach in the central part of Florida’s Big Bend, said.

A 59-year old man and a 40-year old man died in Florida from driving in dangerous weather conditions. Another person was killed in Georgia as he attempted to dismantle a fallen tree during the storm.

On Aug. 30, President Joe Biden spoke with the governors of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina to offer the federal government’s full support for the emergency response. He signed an emergency declaration on Aug. 27 to offer federal support and economic aid to assist with recovery efforts in affected areas.

A report from Moody’s Analytics, which provides research on economic analysis and risk management, estimated that Idalia created between $12 billion and $20 billion of economic damages and disruptions. 

Biden, along with First Lady Jill Biden, visited Florida and took an aerial tour of Live Oak, a town hit hard by the storm, and met with local community members and first responders leading recovery efforts.

“All the officials from Florida, we want to thank them,” Biden said after meeting with local and state officials, including Senator Rick Scott, who represents Florida.

“Jill and I spent time with the incredible first responders and folks who ran toward the danger instead of away from the danger when this storm was coming and when it hit,” he remarked.

During his trip, Biden met with Scott but was unable to meet with Florida governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis delivered Chick-Fil-A to families affected by the storm in a different part of Florida.

Biden acknowledged the impact that climate change had on spurring Idalia and more frequent extreme weather events, including the recent wildfires in Maui.

“I don’t think anybody can deny the impact of the climate crisis anymore,” Biden said. 

“Just look around — historic floods, more intense droughts, extreme heat, significant wildfires. (These events) have caused significant damage like we’ve never seen before,” he added.