Idalia makes its way out of Georgia after causing widespread damage

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Hurricane Idalia officially made landfall as a Category 3 storm on Wednesday morning on Florida’s Big Bend coast before bringing damaging winds and heavy rain to south Georgia.

Idalia was downgraded to a tropical storm as of 5 p.m. Wednesday. The storm was continuing to lash the coast in the Savannah area Wednesday night before making its way out of the area.

Valdosta officials said there has been “vast” damage there and shared pictures of emergency crews conducting water rescues earlier Wednesday. The storm also dumped heavy rain on coastal Georgia.

At least one person in Florida has died.

Channel 2 Action News had crews fanned out across the Florida coast and south Georgia to bring you live updates as the storm was happening.

Here’s the storm as it happened:

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6:00 p.m.

The tornado watch for coastal Georgia counties has ended.

5:20 p.m.

Georgia Power officials said they have restored service to more than 40,000 customers. As of 4:30 PM, 132,396 customers remain without power.

5:01 p.m.

Idalila has been downgraded to a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. A tornado warning is in effect east of Statesboro.

4:26 p.m.

Georgia Power says around 120,000 people are now without power across the state.

4:16 p.m.

More than 75 people were rescued by boats in St. Pete, Florida after the storm went through.

4:34 p.m.

Gov. Brian Kemp said they believe parts of Georgia have seen up to 10 inches of rain.

2:58 p.m.

A Tornado Watch has been extended until 6 p.m. for Bryan, Bulloch, Candler, Chatham, Effingham, Evans, Jenkins, Liberty and Screven counties.

2:47 p.m.

The Talmadge Bridge in Savannah has closed as Hurricane Idalia moves in.

2:11 p.m.

Idalia remains a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 75 mph.

1:22 p.m.

City officials in Valdosta said the area suffered “significant damage” as Hurricane Idalia moved through.

”Many roads are impassable due to flooding, debris, or lines in the roadway. The recovery efforts are underway, but the damage is vast,” officials wrote.

Firefighters are currently conducting water rescues.

1:13 p.m.

A 100-year-old oak tree fell on the Florida Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee during Hurricane Idalia. The governor’s wife, Casey DeSantis, was home with the children at the time, but they were not hurt.

12:14 p.m.

Gov. Kemp now says 61,000 people across the state are without power.

12:09 p.m.

Valdosta City Schools will be closed Thursday due to widespread power outages and trees down across Valdosta-Lowndes County.

11:59 a.m.

Officials say it could take more than 72 hours to get power back to some affected areas in south Georgia.

11:39 a.m.

Around 52,000 people are without power in Georgia.

11:26 a.m.

The NWS Tallahassee is reporting water rescues in Lowndes County due to heavy rainfall from Idalia. A flash flood emergency is in effect. Valdosta is in Lowndes County.

‼️ Flash floods, down power lines, fallen trees, and dangerous winds‼️ Please shelter in place and avoid traveling until...

Posted by Valdosta, A City Without Limits on Wednesday, August 30, 2023

11:15 a.m.

Gov. Brian Kemp will address the media about storm conditions around 12:05 p.m.

10:54 a.m.

Hurricane Idalia has been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane as the center of the storm moves into south Georgia. The storm is packing maximum sustained winds of 90 mph.

10:34 a.m.

ABC News is reporting that at least one person has been killed in the storms. A driver lost control and crashed into a tree in Pasco County, Florida, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. That person has not been identified.

10:01 a.m.

A tornado warning has been issued for Bryan, Liberty, Effingham and Chatham counties until 10:30 a.m. This includes Fort Stewart, Wright and Evans Army Airfield.

10 a.m.

Hurricane Idalia is now a category 2 storm, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center.

Damaging winds are spreading into south Georgia.

8:15 a.m.

President Joe Biden will speak Wednesday afternoon about the ongoing federal government response to Hurricane Idalia.

7:45 a.m.

Hurricane Idalia makes landfall as a Category 3 storm. Monahan says the storm has sustained winds of 125 mph.

7:05 a.m.

Idalia has been downgraded to a Category 3 but remains a powerful storm.

Catastrophic storm surge and destructive winds are occurring in the Florida Big Bend.

6:24 a.m.

6 a.m.

Catastrophic storm surge and destructive winds will begin soon in the Florida Big Bend near where the core of the hurricane makes landfall.

Idalia is about 55 miles WNW of Cedar Key, Florida. Channel 2′s Jorge Estevez is reporting nearby from Cross City, Florida for Channel 2 Action News This Morning.

Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brian Monahan says landfall is expected within the next 90 minutes to two hours.

5 a.m.

Idalia officially strengthened into an :”extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane, according to the NHC.

Catastrophic and life-threatening impacts from storm surge and winds are expected as Idalia moves ashore in Florida.

4 a.m.

Data from hurricane hunters shows that Idalia continues to rapidly intensify and its pressure is dropping quickly.

Idalia’s winds are up to 125 mph with higher gusts.

2 a.m.

Idalia strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds at 120 mph. Life-threatening storm surge and destructive winds are expected

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