Hurricane Idalia made landfall as a powerful Category 3 storm, packing top winds of 125 mph. It made landfall around Keaton Beach, Florida, at 7:45 a.m. ET.

At its peak, Hurricane Idalia had top sustained winds of 130 mph. Those top winds dropped to 125 mph at 7 a.m. ET, making it a Category 3 hurricane at the time of landfall. The National Hurricane Center said Idalia was undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle, which causes the hurricane’s original eye to collapse.

As of 10 a.m. ET, the hurricane had dropped to Category 2 status with top sustained winds of 105 mph.

In addition to the destructive winds, the National Hurricane Center said areas of Florida’s Big Bend region could see 12 to 16 feet of storm surge.  

Perry, Florida, had a wind gust of 85 mph around the time of landfall.

A tide gauge at Cedar Key, Florida, reported a water rise of 6.8 feet. 

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. 

9:45am EDT – #Idalia continues to move inland. Hurricane force wind gusts continue on the western edge of the eye wall. Additionally, very heavy rain will likely cause flash flooding as it moves into south-central Georgia over the next few hours. #FLwx

NWS Tallahassee (@NWSTallahassee) August 30, 2023

Evacuation orders were put in place for 33 Florida counties and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has activated 5,500 members of the Florida National Guard. They have 2,400 vehicles, 14 helicopters and 23 watercrafts ready in response to the hurricane. 

“It’s likely to cause a lot of damage and that’s just the reality. So be prepared for that, be prepared to lose power and just know that there’s a lot of folks that are going to be there to help you get back on your feet,” DeSantis said.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Deanne Criswell briefed President Joe Biden on Tuesday of the storm’s progress. 

“As the President said to Governor DeSantis in his own conversations yesterday, FEMA and the entire federal family are activated to support the people of Florida,” Criswell said. 

SEE MORE: Full moon could exacerbate Hurricane Idalia’s storm surge

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