An In-Depth look at then-Hurricane Idalia
(WENY) -- It's no ordinary storm.
Hurricane Idalia struck Florida's Apalachee Bay on the morning of August 30th with winds peaking at 130 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center upgraded the storm to category four strength just hours before landfall.
In regards to the storm's rapid intensification, chief meteorologist Joe Veres chimed in to help describe this phenomenon: "In this case, Idalia went from a category to a category 4 within hours. Peak sustained winds of 130 miles per hour, just prior to making landfall."
Idalia is the first major hurricane to make landfall between the Tampa Bay and Florida's big bend since 1921. A closer comparison can be made to the 1896 Cedar Key Hurricane, a storm that killed over one-hundred in Florida alone, then ravaged communities all up the East Coast. In addition to the downpours and damaging winds, the subsequent storm surge broke records in Florida's Big Bend topping out at over 10 feet.
As Idalia tracked inland, new threats of flash flooding and severe weather emerged. Earlier this afternoon multiple tornado warnings were issued near the cities of Charleston, S.C. and Wilmington, N.C.. Severe weather continues to be a common side-effect of landfalling hurricanes, "We have the strong gusty winds associated with hurricanes, the flooding rains as well, but also a lot of wind shear associated with these systems. Actually that we can get quick spin-up tornadoes along the edges of a circulation of a hurricane as it moves inland."
Idalia becomes the eighth major hurricane in six years to make landfall on the Gulf Coast, joining Harvey, Irma, Michael, Laura, Zeta, Ida, and Ian. In that time the letter "I" took the lead for the most retired Atlantic hurricane names, at thirteen.
Topical Storm Idalia is expected to move eastward into the Atlantic, potentially impacting Bermuda, and is currently not a threat to our region.