Just hours after Hurricane Idalia made landfall along Florida's Big Bend as a powerful Category 3 storm, it made its way northeast, steering clear of Gainesville and sparing much of the densely populated college town.
The city was preparing for damaging wind gusts up to 100 mph and the possibility of torrential downpours and flooding. But it appears the brunt of the damage can be seen in less-populated coastal towns west of Gainesville.
Just an hour away in the town of Cedar Key, a tide gauge reported a storm surge of nearly 7 feet, flooding much of the area and destroying many properties that residents had fled before the storm's arrival. While much of the rain and wind has already passed through the area, the storm surge is expected to continue rising throughout the day, with some estimates predicting 12 to 16 feet of water when all is said and done.
Meanwhile, the effects won't just be felt at the coast. A hurricane warning was issued for parts of the Georgia and South Carolina coast, including Savannah and Hilton Head. The National Hurricane Center said it believes Idalia will maintain hurricane status for much of Wednesday before heading back to sea on Thursday as a tropical storm.
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