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Biden heads to Florida as DeSantis nixes meeting with president: Hurricane Idalia updates

Joe Biden is set to visit Florida, where Hurricane Idalia has left behind a trail of destruction. Evacuated residents are returning only to find their homes gone, and thousands more are still without power.

While the president will likely visit with victims of the storm, he reportedly will not be meeting with the state’s Governor Ron DeSantis. The governor’s office justified the skip, saying the security preparations would be too involved to impose on a rural community recovering from a hurricane.

Idalia ploughed into Florida as a Category 3 Hurricane on Wednesday morning before losing power as it moved inland through Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

As of 4am ET on Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center reported that Idalia had the strength of a post-tropical cyclone and was heading for Bermuda where it will bring heavy rain and powerful winds over the weekend.

In Florida, 97,000 homes were still without power as of 4.45am ET on Friday morning.

Governor Ron DeSantis said on Thursday that restoring power and clearing debris would be a key priority throughout Friday. There are also concerns over flesh-eating bacteria, carbon monoxide, and other health risks in the state, local officials said.

Key points

  • Biden heading to Florida to see aftermath and recovery efforts

  • Hurricane Idalia could be US’s costliest climate disaster this year

  • Biden wants an extra $4bn for disaster relief, bringing total request to $16bn

  • Life-threatening flash flooding continues to hit North Carolina

  • WATCH: Terrifying moment tornado flips car with two inside

  • Tree falls on DeSantis mansion with his family inside as Hurricane Idalia rocks Florida

Joe Biden remembers ‘poet of paradise’ Jimmy Buffett as he visits Florida to survey Hurricane Idalia damage

21:30 , Graig Graziosi

Joe Biden offered a tribute to legandary singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, who died early Monday aged 76.

Mr Biden called Buffett, known for his tropical pop and beach bum aesthetic, a “poet of paradise” and offered his condolences to the singer’s family. The president was visiting Florida — the subject and inspiration of many of Buffet’s songs as well as his adopted home — to survey the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia on the day the singer’s death was announced.

Joe Biden says no one ‘intelligent’ can deny climate crisis

21:15 , Graig Graziosi

Joe Biden said that “no one intelligent” can question the severity of the climate crisis during a visit to Florida to survey the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia.

“Nobody can deny the impact of climate crises—at least nobody intelligent can deny the impact of the climate crisis anymore,” he said during the visit.

Mr Biden and First Lady Jill Biden toured the state’s west coast, where Hurricane Idalia made landfall on Wednesday morning.

Joe Biden holds presser to affirm his administration’s commitment to Florida’s recovery

20:58 , Graig Graziosi

Joe Biden held a press conference in Florida on Saturday to affirm his administration’s committment to Florida’s recovery in the wake of Hurricane Idalia.

The storm made landfall Wednesday morning, leaving a trail of destruction from Big Bend, Florida, inland.

Joe Biden meets with residents in Florida

20:48 , Graig Graziosi

U.S. President Joe Biden visits Suwannee Pineview Elementary School, during his tour of Hurricane Idalia storm destruction in Live Oak, Florida, U.S., September 2, 202 (REUTERS)
U.S. President Joe Biden visits Suwannee Pineview Elementary School, during his tour of Hurricane Idalia storm destruction in Live Oak, Florida, U.S., September 2, 202 (REUTERS)

Ron DeSantis expresses concerns over Biden’s visit during presser

20:33 , Graig Graziosi

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis expressed concerns that Joe Biden’s visit to Florida on Wednesday to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia would hinder recovery efforts.

“One thing I did mention to him on the phone is where these communities — the hardest-hit communities — it would be very disruptive to have the whole kind of security apparatus that goes…I’m sure they’ll be sensitive to that,” Mr DeSantis said during a presser.

The governor declined to meet with Mr Biden, citing concerns for the recovery effort.

Mr DeSantis is aiming to challenge Mr Biden in the 2024 presidential election.

Florida residents thank Joe Biden for federal assistance

20:12 , Graig Graziosi

A resident in Florida thanked Joe Biden for the federal government’s assistance in the recovery efforts following Hurricane Idalia.

“We are really an economically challenged area and the help that has come in is just— I can’t say thank you enough,” the resident says in the video.

A Fox News feed carrying the shot died out shortly after the resident made the comments.

A phenomenon in Hurricane Idalia’s eye prevented ‘devastating impacts’ in Florida’s capital

19:40 , Graig Graziosi

In the final hours before Hurricane Idalia struck Florida the storm had grown into a Category 4 beast lurking off the state’s west coast, and the forecast called for it to continue intensifying up until landfall.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft had recorded winds up to 130 mph (215 kph), the National Hurricane Center said in an ominous bulletin at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

As the sun rose an hour later, however, there was evidence the hurricane began replacing the wall around its eye — a phenomenon that experts say kept it from further intensifying. Maximum winds had dropped to near 125 mph (205 kph), the Hurricane Center said in a 7 a.m. update.

Then came another surprising twist: A last-minute turn sparing the state’s capital city of Tallahassee from far more serious damage.

“Eyewall replacement cycles are common in major hurricanes, and so when you see that, it does lead to some temporary weakening,” said Kelly Godsey, one of the meteorologists tracking the storm at the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, where his colleagues slept inside the weather office so they could be at work in case the city was devastated.

READ MORE:

A phenomenon in Hurricane Idalia’s eye prevented ‘devastating impacts’ in Florida

Biden says ‘we’re going to save Florida’ when asked if he had a statement for Ron DeSantis

19:27 , Graig Graziosi

Joe Biden said “we’re going to save Florida” when asked if he had a statement for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Mr DeSantis said he did not plan to meet with the president during his trip to Florida to survey the wreckage of Hurricane Idalia. The governor said the logistics of securing the area for the visit would slow recovery efforts.

President and First Lady observe Idalia wreckage from helicopter

18:41 , Graig Graziosi

Joe Biden visited Florida today to survey the extent of the damage caused by Hurrican Idalia when it made landfall on Wednesday morning near Big Bend.

Mr Biden was accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden.

The pair’s schedule showed that this afternoon the couple will take an aerial tour of the region to get a wider view of the impact the storm had on Florida’s coast.

Debris is littered around the damaged Regency Inn Perry in Perry, Fla., following the passage of Hurricane Idalia, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023 (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Debris is littered around the damaged Regency Inn Perry in Perry, Fla., following the passage of Hurricane Idalia, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023 (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Despite opposing it after Sandy, DeSantis says Florida will apply for federal disaster relief money

16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Florida Gov Ron DeSantis said that his state will apply for federal dollars to help recover after Hurricane Idalia — despite the fact he voted against providing disaster relief when he was in Congress.

Eric Garcia reports.

DeSantis says Florida will apply for federal disaster relief he opposed in Congress

Tampa Bay area again dodges direct hit from major hurricane

15:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Last year it was Hurricane Ian that drew a bead on Tampa Bay before abruptly shifting east to strike southwest Florida more than 130 miles (210 kilometers) away. This time it was Hurricane Idalia, which caused some serious flooding as it sideswiped the area but packed much more punch at landfall Wednesday, miles to the north.

In fact, the Tampa Bay area hasn’t been hit directly by a major hurricane for more than a century. The last time it happened, there were just a few hundred thousand people living in the region, compared with more than 3 million today.

Tampa Bay area gets serious flooding but again dodges a direct hit from a major hurricane.

DeSantis says he won’t meet Biden during president’s visit to Florida after Hurricane Idalia

15:30 , Graig Graziosi

Ron DeSantis’ office has said that he won’t meet Joe Biden during the president’s trip to Florida this weekend to inspect the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia.

Organizing a meeting between the Florida governor and Mr Biden would hamper disaster response efforts, a spokesman for Mr DeSantis said.

“In these rural communities, and so soon after impact, the security preparations alone that would go into setting up such a meeting would shut down ongoing recovery efforts,” Jeremy Redfern said in a statement.

READ MORE:

DeSantis won’t meet Biden during president’s Florida visit after Hurricane Idalia

After Idalia, Biden wants an extra $4bn for disaster relief

15:20 , AP

The White House will seek an additional $4bn to address natural disasters as part of its supplemental funding request — a sign that wildfires, flooding and hurricanes that have intensified during a period of climate change are imposing ever higher costs on US taxpayers.

The Biden administration had initially requested $12bn in extra funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund, which helps with rescue and relief efforts. But an official in the Democratic administration said that the fires in Hawaii and Louisiana as well as flooding in Vermont and Hurricane Idalia striking Florida and other Southeastern states mean that a total of $16bn is needed.

Biden wants an extra $4 billion for disaster relief, bringing total request to $16 billion

Hurricane Idalia on track to be US’s costliest climate disaster this year

15:00 , Graig Graziosi

Analysts are estimating that Hurricane Idalia may become the most costly climate disaster in the US this year, according to a report.

The storm — which made landfall near Big Bend, Florida, on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane — caused an estimated $9.36bn based on early estimates from UBS, a risk analysis firm. However, those are only early estimates; Accuweather predicted the total damage could be somewhere between $18bn and $20bn.

Hurricane Idalia could be US’s costliest climate disaster this year

Why Hurricane Idalia stopped intensifying and turned away from Tallahassee

14:40 , AP

In the final hours before Hurricane Idalia struck Florida the storm had grown into a Category 4 beast lurking off the state’s west coast, and the forecast called for it to continue intensifying up until landfall.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft had recorded winds up to 130 mph (215 kph), the National Hurricane Center said in an ominous bulletin at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

As the sun rose an hour later, however, there was evidence the hurricane began replacing the wall around its eye — a phenomenon that experts say kept it from further intensifying. Maximum winds had dropped to near 125 mph (205 kph), the Hurricane Center said in a 7 a.m. update.

Then came another surprising twist: A last-minute turn sparing the state’s capital city of Tallahassee from far more serious damage.

In final hours before landfall, Hurricane Idalia stopped intensifying and turned from Tallahassee

Joe Biden set to visit Florida, but not Ron DeSantis

14:34 , Graig Graziosi

Joe Biden will visit Florida today to inspect the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia’s destruction and offer support to the storm’s victims.

Notably absent from his itinerary, however, is Governor Ron DeSantis.

Though Mr DeSantis has made clear his intentions of securing the GOP primary nomination and dethroning Mr Biden in 2024, the governor’s campaign said it was logistics, not bad blood, that kept the men from meeting.

“We don’t have any plans for the Governor to meet with the President tomorrow,” Jeremy Redfern, Mr DeSantis’s spokesman, said in an email to Reuters. “In these rural communities, and so soon after impact, the security preparations alone that would go into setting up such a meeting would shut down ongoing recovery efforts.”

Florida attorney general defends DeSantis’ ‘you loot, we shoot’ threat

14:20 , Gustaf Kilander

The Florida attorney general has defended Governor Ron DeSantis after he discouraged looters and referenced signs put up saying “you loot, we shoot”.

Florida attorney general defends DeSantis’ ‘you loot, we shoot’ threat

Florida residents share heartbreaking photos of Hurricane Idalia’s wrath

14:00 , Louise Boyle

Florida residents shared heartbreaking photos of the destruction caused by Hurricane Idalia after the powerful storm swept into the state on Wednesday.

Idalia made landfall around 8am as an “extremely dangerous” Category 3 storm with 120mph winds and warnings of “catastrophic” coastal surge up to 15 feet in places. More than 250,000 customers were left without power on Wednesday.

The hurricane came ashore near Keaton Beach in Big Bend, southeast of Tallahassee, an area known as “Florida’s nature coast” and less densely-populated than other parts of the state.

But that was cold comfort for the small, tranquil communities dotting the coastline with Idalia forecast to be the strongest storm to hit the region in more than 100 years.

Florida residents share heartbreaking photos of Hurricane Idalia’s wrath

13:40 , Oliver O'Connell

DeSantis leadership tested as he trades the campaign trail for crisis management

13:15 , Oliver O'Connell

First a shooting, then a storm.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is facing a one-two punch testing his leadership at a critical moment for his presidential campaign, with the Republican moving to cast aside his role as culture warrior and show the country that he can govern through crises.

Hurricane, shooting test DeSantis leadership as he trades the campaign trail for crisis management

ICYMI: DeSantis hit by power outage in middle of Hurricane Idalia briefing

12:30 , Rachel Sharp

Ron DeSantis was hit by a power outage in the middle of his press conference about Hurricane Idalia on Wednesday morning, as the storm barreled into Florida’s Big Bend region.

Ron DeSantis hit by power outage in middle of Hurricane Idalia briefing

Could Hurricane Idalia be US’s costliest climate disaster this year?

11:30 , Graig Graziosi

Analysts are estimating that Hurricane Idalia may become the most costly climate disaster in the US this year, according to a report.

The storm — which made landfall near Big Bend, Florida, on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane — caused an estimated $9.36bn based on early estimates from UBS, a risk analysis firm. However, those are only early estimates; Accuweather predicted the total damage could be somewhere between $18bn and $20bn.

Read on...

Hurricane Idalia could be US’s costliest climate disaster this year

Before and after Hurricane Idalia made landfall captured by satellites

09:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Satellite images have captured the life-threatening flooding in Florida after Hurricane Idalia battered the peninsula this week.

Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend as a Category 3 storm early Wednesday morning with wind speeds topping 125 mph.

Read on...

Satellite images capture Florida before and after Hurricane Idalia made landfall

ICYMI: Car carrying two people is flipped into air by Hurricane Idalia

07:30 , Oliver O'Connell

A car carrying two people was flipped into the air by a tornado in South Carolina, as Hurricane Idalia tore through the state.

The black sedan was travelling through severe rainfall near Goose Creek, north of Charleston, on Wednesday afternoon when severe gusts of wind threw it up in the air at an intersection.

Footage shows the car being flipped upwards by the strong winds, causing it to spin on its rear wheels before flipping upside down and landing on the roof of another oncoming car.

Read on...

Terrifying moment car carrying two people is flipped into air by Hurricane Idalia

Tampa Bay area again dodges direct hit from major hurricane

04:30 , AP

Last year it was Hurricane Ian that drew a bead on Tampa Bay before abruptly shifting east to strike southwest Florida more than 130 miles (210 kilometers) away. This time it was Hurricane Idalia, which caused some serious flooding as it sideswiped the area but packed much more punch at landfall Wednesday, miles to the north.

In fact, the Tampa Bay area hasn’t been hit directly by a major hurricane for more than a century. The last time it happened, there were just a few hundred thousand people living in the region, compared with more than 3 million today.

Tampa Bay area gets serious flooding but again dodges a direct hit from a major hurricane.

Why do so many destructive hurricanes start with the letter 'I’?

03:30

Hurricane Idalia caused widespread damage after making landfall as an “extremely dangerous”, Category 3 storm in Florida on Wednesday.

Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, and residents shared heartbreaking images of the destruction Idalia caused.

Idalia, which is pronounced Ee-DAL-ya and has Greek or Spanish origins, joined a long list of notoriously destructive hurricanes, whose names start with the letter “I”.

Why destructive hurricanes like Idalia often start with the letter ‘I’

Why Hurricane Idalia stopped intensifying and turned away from Tallahassee

02:20 , AP

In the final hours before Hurricane Idalia struck Florida the storm had grown into a Category 4 beast lurking off the state’s west coast, and the forecast called for it to continue intensifying up until landfall.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft had recorded winds up to 130 mph (215 kph), the National Hurricane Center said in an ominous bulletin at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

As the sun rose an hour later, however, there was evidence the hurricane began replacing the wall around its eye — a phenomenon that experts say kept it from further intensifying. Maximum winds had dropped to near 125 mph (205 kph), the Hurricane Center said in a 7 a.m. update.

Then came another surprising twist: A last-minute turn sparing the state’s capital city of Tallahassee from far more serious damage.

In final hours before landfall, Hurricane Idalia stopped intensifying and turned from Tallahassee

Watch: Biden thanks staff of FEMA for helping those afflicted by natural disasters

01:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Florida attorney general defends DeSantis’ ‘you loot, we shoot’ threat

Saturday 2 September 2023 00:20 , Gustaf Kilander

The Florida attorney general has defended Governor Ron DeSantis after he discouraged looters and referenced signs put up saying “you loot, we shoot”.

Florida attorney general defends DeSantis’ ‘you loot, we shoot’ threat

Biden wants an extra $4bn for disaster relief in wake of wildfires and storms

Friday 1 September 2023 23:20 , Oliver O'Connell

The White House will seek an additional $4bn to address natural disasters as part of its supplemental funding request — a sign that wildfires, flooding and hurricanes that have intensified during a period of climate change are imposing ever higher costs on US taxpayers.

The Biden administration had initially requested $12bn in extra funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund, which helps with rescue and relief efforts. But an official in the Democratic administration said that the fires in Hawaii and Louisiana as well as flooding in Vermont and Hurricane Idalia striking Florida and other Southeastern states mean that a total of $16bn is needed.

As recently as Tuesday, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell had stressed that $12bn would be enough to meet the agency’s needs through the end of the fiscal year this month.

Read more...

Biden wants an extra $4 billion for disaster relief, bringing total request to $16 billion

Hurricane Idalia could be US’s costliest climate disaster this year

Friday 1 September 2023 22:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Analysts are estimating that Hurricane Idalia may become the most costly climate disaster in the US this year, according to a report.

The storm — which made landfall near Big Bend, Florida, on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane — caused an estimated $9.36bn based on early estimates from UBS, a risk analysis firm. However, those are only early estimates; Accuweather predicted the total damage could be somewhere between $18bn and $20bn.

The costs of climate disasters like Hurricane Idalia and the 15 other incidents recorded this year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are becoming especially costly for insurers and risk management companies, according to The Guardian.

Tom Larsen, the senior director of insurance solutions at CoreLogic, which provides property analytics and publishes an annual hurricane risk report, told the newspaper that the “costs are becoming unbearable.”

“The business of insuring for catastrophes used to mean exceptional, very rare events and that’s not what we’re seeing,” he said. “These are much more common, so something’s got to change.”

Idalia may be US’s costliest 2023 climate disaster as Biden to visit Florida – live

Despite opposing it after Sandy, DeSantis says Florida will apply for federal disaster relief money

Friday 1 September 2023 22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Florida Gov Ron DeSantis said that his state will apply for federal dollars to help recover after Hurricane Idalia — despite the fact he voted against providing disaster relief when he was in Congress.

Eric Garcia reports.

DeSantis says Florida will apply for federal disaster relief he opposed in Congress

Friday 1 September 2023 21:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Friday 1 September 2023 21:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Floodwater rushes down Tampa street after Hurricane Idalia makes Florida landfall

Satellite images capture Florida before and after Hurricane Idalia made landfall

Friday 1 September 2023 20:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Satellite images have captured the life-threatening flooding in Florida after Hurricane Idalia battered the peninsula this week.

Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend as a Category 3 storm early Wednesday morning with wind speeds topping 125 mph.

The storm flooded streets, destroyed homes and downed power lines. Terrifying videos have shown a car being flipped into the air by a gust of wind and a gas station roof being blown off.

Water levels in the Steinhatchee River surged from 1 foot to 8 feet in just an hour, the National Weather Service said.

The storm was declared “an unprecedented event” by the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, because no major hurricanes on record have ever passed through the bay abutting the Big Bend.

Satellite images capture Florida before and after Hurricane Idalia made landfall

Friday 1 September 2023 19:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Journalist battles 100mph winds as he reports from Florida during Idalia landfall

Terrifying moment car carrying two people is flipped into air by Hurricane Idalia

Friday 1 September 2023 18:20 , Oliver O'Connell

A car carrying two people was flipped into the air by a tornado in South Carolina, as Hurricane Idalia tore through the state.

The black sedan was travelling through severe rainfall near Goose Creek, north of Charleston, on Wednesday afternoon when severe gusts of wind threw it up in the air at an intersection.

Footage shows the car being flipped upwards by the strong winds, causing it to spin on its rear wheels before flipping upside down and landing on the roof of another oncoming car.

The Goose Creek Police Department said that the two people inside the car suffered minor injuries and were taken for treatment at a local hospital.

Officials from Berkely County Emergency Management later confirmed that it was a brief tornado during Storm Idalia that had flipped the vehicle.

Terrifying moment car carrying two people is flipped into air by Hurricane Idalia

Watch: DeSantis says Biden team will be ‘sensitive’ about not causing disruption during Florida visit

Friday 1 September 2023 18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Watch: DeSantis says Florida will apply for whatever federal money is available for recovery

Friday 1 September 2023 17:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Friday 1 September 2023 17:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Dramatic timelapse shows Idalia storm surge barrel through Florida’s Hudson Beach

Watch: Why you should avoid floodwaters after a hurricane

Friday 1 September 2023 16:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Once again Tampa Bay area dodges direct hit by hurricane

Friday 1 September 2023 16:19 , Oliver O'Connell

Last year it was Hurricane Ian that drew a bead on Tampa Bay before abruptly shifting east to strike southwest Florida more than 130 miles (210 kilometers) away. This time it was Hurricane Idalia, which caused some serious flooding as it sideswiped the area but packed much more punch at landfall Wednesday, miles to the north.

In fact, the Tampa Bay area hasn’t been hit directly by a major hurricane for more than a century. The last time it happened, there were just a few hundred thousand people living in the region, compared with more than 3 million today.

Read on...

Tampa Bay area gets serious flooding but again dodges a direct hit from a major hurricane.

Watch: Florida AG defends Gov DeSantis warning looters of ‘you loot, we shoot’ signs

Friday 1 September 2023 15:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Florida residents share heartbreaking photos of Hurricane Idalia’s wrath

Friday 1 September 2023 15:20 , Louise Boyle

Florida residents shared heartbreaking photos of the destruction caused by Hurricane Idalia after the powerful storm swept into the state on Wednesday.

Idalia made landfall around 8am as an “extremely dangerous” Category 3 storm with 120mph winds and warnings of a “catastrophic” coastal surge up to 15 feet in places. More than 250,000 customers were left without power on Wednesday.

The hurricane came ashore near Keaton Beach in Big Bend, southeast of Tallahassee, an area known as “Florida’s nature coast” and less densely populated than other parts of the state.

But that was cold comfort for the small, tranquil communities dotting the coastline with Idalia forecast to be the strongest storm to hit the region in more than 100 years.

Florida residents share heartbreaking photos of Hurricane Idalia’s wrath

Biden wants an extra $4bn for disaster relief in wake of wildfires and storms

Friday 1 September 2023 14:38 , AP

The White House will seek an additional $4bn to address natural disasters as part of its supplemental funding request — a sign that wildfires, flooding and hurricanes that have intensified during a period of climate change are imposing ever higher costs on US taxpayers.

The Biden administration had initially requested $12bn in extra funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund, which helps with rescue and relief efforts. But an official in the Democratic administration said that the fires in Hawaii and Louisiana as well as flooding in Vermont and Hurricane Idalia striking Florida and other Southeastern states mean that a total of $16bn is needed.

As recently as Tuesday, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell had stressed that $12bn would be enough to meet the agency's needs through the end of the fiscal year this month.

Read more...

Biden wants an extra $4 billion for disaster relief, bringing total request to $16 billion

Hurricane Idalia could be US’s costliest climate disaster this year

Friday 1 September 2023 14:20 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Analysts are estimating that Hurricane Idalia may become the most costly climate disaster in the US this year, according to a report.

The storm — which made landfall near Big Bend, Florida, on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane — caused an estimated $9.36bn based on early estimates from UBS, a risk analysis firm. However, those are only early estimates; Accuweather predicted the total damage could be somewhere between $18bn and $20bn.

The costs of climate disasters like Hurricane Idalia and the 15 other incidents recorded this year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are becoming especially costly for insurers and risk management companies, according to The Guardian.

Tom Larsen, the senior director of insurance solutions at CoreLogic, which provides property analytics and publishes an annual hurricane risk report, told the newspaper that the “costs are becoming unbearable.”

“The business of insuring for catastrophes used to mean exceptional, very rare events and that’s not what we’re seeing,” he said. “These are much more common, so something’s got to change.”

Hurricane Idalia could be US’s costliest climate disaster this year

Hurricane Idalia: Drone footage reveals devastating Florida flooding

Friday 1 September 2023 13:50 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Devastating drone footage has revealed the extent of flooding as Hurricane Idalia decimated the town of Steinhatchee, Florida.

The river that runs through the town rose 8 feet on Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service, and flooded the town less than 20 miles from where Idalia made landfall.

Officials urged the 500 residents of the coastal community to evacuate the town on Tuesday (29 August 2023) ahead of the storm surge.

As of 6 pm Wednesday evening, Hurricane Idalia has been downgraded to a tropical storm the National Hurricane Center reports.

Friday 1 September 2023 13:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Tree falls on Florida home as Hurricane Idalia devastates state

Friday 1 September 2023 12:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Florida man rowing inflatable duck interrupts CNN live report

Satellite images capture Florida before and after Hurricane Idalia made landfall

Friday 1 September 2023 12:20 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Satellite images have captured the life-threatening flooding in Florida after Hurricane Idalia battered the peninsula this week.

Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend as a Category 3 storm early Wednesday morning with wind speeds topping 125 mph.

The storm flooded streets, destroyed homes and downed power lines. Terrifying videos have shown a car being flipped into the air by a gust of wind and a gas station roof being blown off.

Water levels in the Steinhatchee River surged from 1 foot to 8 feet in just an hour, the National Weather Service said.

The storm was declared “an unprecedented event” by the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, because no major hurricanes on record have ever passed through the bay abutting the Big Bend.

Satellite images capture Florida before and after Hurricane Idalia made landfall

Friday 1 September 2023 11:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Floodwater rushes down Tampa street after Hurricane Idalia makes Florida landfall

‘Houses everywhere are submerged’: Florida residents share heartbreaking photos of Hurricane Idalia’s wrath

Friday 1 September 2023 11:20 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Florida residents shared heartbreaking photos of the destruction caused by Hurricane Idalia after the powerful storm swept into the state on Wednesday.

Idalia made landfall around 8am as an “extremely dangerous” Category 3 storm with 120mph winds and warnings of “catastrophic” coastal surge up to 15 feet in places. More than 250,000 customers were left without power on Wednesday.

The hurricane came ashore near Keaton Beach in Big Bend, southeast of Tallahassee, an area known as “Florida’s nature coast” and less densely-populated than other parts of the state.

But that was cold comfort for the small, tranquil communities dotting the coastline with Idalia forecast to be the strongest storm to hit the region in more than 100 years.

Cedar Key was one of those severely impacted by storm surge and winds. Michael Presley Bobbitt, a playwright who lives in the town, decided not to evacuate and was sheltering on the second floor of his home, he shared on social media.

Florida residents share heartbreaking photos of Hurricane Idalia’s wrath

Friday 1 September 2023 10:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Waves lash Sanibel Island causeway 11 months after it was partially destroyed

ICYMI: Terrifying moment car carrying two people is flipped into air by Hurricane Idalia

Friday 1 September 2023 10:20 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A car carrying two people was flipped into the air by a tornado in South Carolina, as Hurricane Idalia tore through the state.

The black sedan was travelling through severe rainfall near Goose Creek, north of Charleston, on Wednesday afternoon when severe gusts of wind threw it up in the air at an intersection.

Footage shows the car being flipped upwards by the strong winds, causing it to spin on its rear wheels before flipping upside down and landing on the roof of another oncoming car.

The Goose Creek Police Department said that the two people inside the car suffered minor injuries and were taken for treatment at a local hospital.

Officials from Berkely County Emergency Management later confirmed that it was a brief tornado during Storm Idalia that had flipped the vehicle.

Terrifying moment car carrying two people is flipped into air by Hurricane Idalia

Friday 1 September 2023 09:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Dramatic timelapse shows Idalia storm surge barrel through Florida’s Hudson Beach

‘Houses everywhere are submerged’: Florida residents share heartbreaking photos of Hurricane Idalia’s wrath

Friday 1 September 2023 09:20 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Florida residents shared heartbreaking photos of the destruction caused by Hurricane Idalia after the powerful storm swept into the state on Wednesday.

Idalia made landfall around 8am as an “extremely dangerous” Category 3 storm with 120mph winds and warnings of “catastrophic” coastal surge up to 15 feet in places. More than 250,000 customers were left without power on Wednesday.

The hurricane came ashore near Keaton Beach in Big Bend, southeast of Tallahassee, an area known as “Florida’s nature coast” and less densely-populated than other parts of the state.

But that was cold comfort for the small, tranquil communities dotting the coastline with Idalia forecast to be the strongest storm to hit the region in more than 100 years.

Florida residents share heartbreaking photos of Hurricane Idalia’s wrath

ICYMI: Biden warns Idalia still dangerous, says he hasn’t forgotten about the victims of Hawaii’s wildfires

Friday 1 September 2023 08:50 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden warned Wednesday that Hurricane Idalia was “still very dangerous” even though the storm had weakened after it came ashore in Florida and said he has not forgotten about the wildfire victims in Hawaii, declaring himself “laser focused” on helping them recover.

Challenged by back-to-back extreme weather episodes — wildfires that burned a historic town on the island of Maui to the ground and a hurricane that forecasters said could bring catastrophic flooding — the Democratic president who is running for a second term sought to appear in command of the federal government’s response to both events.

Biden warns Idalia still dangerous, says he hasn't forgotten about the victims of Hawaii's wildfires

Terrifying moment car carrying two people is flipped into air by Hurricane Idalia

Friday 1 September 2023 08:20 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A car carrying two people was flipped into the air by a tornado in South Carolina, as Hurricane Idalia tore through the state.

The black sedan was travelling through severe rainfall near Goose Creek, north of Charleston, on Wednesday afternoon when severe gusts of wind threw it up in the air at an intersection.

Footage shows the car being flipped upwards by the strong winds, causing it to spin on its rear wheels before flipping upside down and landing on the roof of another oncoming car.

The Goose Creek Police Department said that the two people inside the car suffered minor injuries and were taken for treatment at a local hospital.

Officials from Berkely County Emergency Management later confirmed that it was a brief tornado during Storm Idalia that had flipped the vehicle.

Terrifying moment car carrying two people is flipped into air by Hurricane Idalia

Friday 1 September 2023 07:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Dramatic timelapse shows Idalia storm surge barrel through Florida’s Hudson Beach

Hurricane Idalia makes landfall in Florida with ‘catastrophic storm surge’

Friday 1 September 2023 07:20 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Hurricane Idalia made landfall as a Category 3 on Wednesday morning bringing “catastrophic storm surge” to parts of Florida.

The hurricane slammed into the Big Bend area, near Keaton Beach, just before 8am (Eastern Time) with 125mph winds and warnings of up to 15ft of storm surge.

Two men were killed in separate vehicle crashes during heavy rainfall, Florida Highway Patrol reported on Wednesday. A 59-year-old man died in Gainesville after his pickup truck hit trees during “extremely rainy conditions”. A 40-year-old man in Spring Hill lost control of his truck during the severe conditions and hit a tree.

A third man was killed in Georgia, according to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, as he attempted to dismantle a fallen tree.

Idalia rapidly intensified to a Category 4 hurricane overnight before being downgraded as it reached Florida’s west coast where thousands of residents had been ordered to evacuate.

Hurricane Idalia makes landfall in Florida with ‘catastrophic storm surge’

Once again Tampa Bay area dodges direct hit by hurricane

Friday 1 September 2023 06:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Last year it was Hurricane Ian that drew a bead on Tampa Bay before abruptly shifting east to strike southwest Florida more than 130 miles (210 kilometers) away. This time it was Hurricane Idalia, which caused some serious flooding as it sideswiped the area but packed much more punch at landfall Wednesday, miles to the north.

In fact, the Tampa Bay area hasn’t been hit directly by a major hurricane for more than a century. The last time it happened, there were just a few hundred thousand people living in the region, compared with more than 3 million today.

Read on...

Tampa Bay area gets serious flooding but again dodges a direct hit from a major hurricane.

Where is Hurricane Idalia now? Tropical storm system mapped

Friday 1 September 2023 06:20 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Hurricane Idalia was downgraded back to tropical storm status on Wednesday after making landfall in Keaton Beach in northeastern Florida’s Big Bend and crossing into Georgia, losing some of its power but still leaving behind a trail of flooding and destruction in its wake.

The storm is now headed for the Carolinas before dropping out into the Atlantic Ocean over the weekend but has so far proved far less destructive than initially feared, providing only glancing blows to Tampa Bay.

Even so, the 125mph winds with which it arrived from the Gulf of Mexico did plenty of damage, as captured by drones flying overhead, and left as many as half a million Floridians without power after ripping down electricity poles and cables across the north of the state.

Where is Hurricane Idalia now? Tropical storm system mapped

Friday 1 September 2023 05:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Journalist battles 100mph winds as he reports from Florida during Idalia landfall

Forecast shows Hurricane Idalia could hit Florida twice

Friday 1 September 2023 05:20 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Hurricane Idalia made landfall in northwestern Florida on Wednesday morning – bringing heavy winds, torrential rains and sending thousands of people fleeing for safety – and has since cut a path of destruction across southern Georgia en route to the Carolinas.

It was downgraded to tropical storm status by the National Hurricane Center after arriving in Keaton Beach in Florida’s Big Bend and has since lost seen its wind speeds drop from 125mph to 60mph but has still caused plenty of chaos.

While the storm is expected to drift out into the Atlantic Ocean over the weekend, the Global Forecasting System, a US federal hurricane projection model, has caused alarm by indicating that it could then circle back and strike the Sunshine State for a second time early next week.

According to The Daily Beast, other models, including that of the trusted European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, do not support that conclusion and such looping is considered highly unusual for tropical storms but is not unprecedented.

Forecast shows Hurricane Idalia could hit Florida twice

Florida residents share heartbreaking photos of Hurricane Idalia’s wrath

Friday 1 September 2023 04:50 , Louise Boyle

Florida residents shared heartbreaking photos of the destruction caused by Hurricane Idalia after the powerful storm swept into the state on Wednesday.

Idalia made landfall around 8am as an “extremely dangerous” Category 3 storm with 120mph winds and warnings of “catastrophic” coastal surge up to 15 feet in places. More than 250,000 customers were left without power on Wednesday.

The hurricane came ashore near Keaton Beach in Big Bend, southeast of Tallahassee, an area known as “Florida’s nature coast” and less densely-populated than other parts of the state.

But that was cold comfort for the small, tranquil communities dotting the coastline with Idalia forecast to be the strongest storm to hit the region in more than 100 years.

Florida residents share heartbreaking photos of Hurricane Idalia’s wrath

Why destructive hurricanes like Idalia often start with the letter ‘I’

Friday 1 September 2023 04:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Hurricane Idalia caused widespread damage after making landfall as an “extremely dangerous”, Category 3 storm in Florida on Wednesday.

Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, and residents shared heartbreaking images of the destruction Idalia caused.

Idalia, which is pronounced Ee-DAL-ya and has Greek or Spanish origins, joined a long list of notoriously destructive hurricanes, whose names start with the letter “I”.

Read the full piece here:

Why destructive hurricanes like Idalia often start with the letter ‘I’

Hurricane Idalia could be US’s costliest climate disaster this year

Friday 1 September 2023 04:25 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Analysts are estimating that Hurricane Idalia may become the most costly climate disaster in the US this year, according to a report.

The storm — which made landfall near Big Bend, Florida, on Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane — caused an estimated $9.36bn based on early estimates from UBS, a risk analysis firm. However, those are only early estimates; Accuweather predicted the total damage could be somewhere between $18bn and $20bn.

The costs of climate disasters like Hurricane Idalia and the 15 other incidents recorded this year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are becoming especially costly for insurers and risk management companies, according to The Guardian.

Hurricane Idalia could be US’s costliest climate disaster this year

Satellite images capture Florida before and after Hurricane Idalia made landfall

Friday 1 September 2023 04:20 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Satellite images have captured the life-threatening flooding in Florida after Hurricane Idalia battered the peninsula this week.

Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend as a Category 3 storm early Wednesday morning with wind speeds topping 125 mph.

The storm flooded streets, destroyed homes and downed power lines. Terrifying videos have shown a car being flipped into the air by a gust of wind and a gas station roof being blown off.

Water levels in the Steinhatchee River surged from 1 foot to 8 feet in just an hour, the National Weather Service said.

The storm was declared “an unprecedented event” by the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, because no major hurricanes on record have ever passed through the bay abutting the Big Bend.

Satellite images capture Florida before and after Hurricane Idalia made landfall

Friday 1 September 2023 03:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Voices: Why Hurricane Idalia could derail the 2024 campaign

Friday 1 September 2023 02:50 , Oliver O'Connell

This could be a make or break week for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Why Hurricane Idalia could derail the 2024 campaign

Friday 1 September 2023 01:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Florida highway partially submerged as Hurricane Idalia makes landfall

In pictures: Satellite photos show before and after of Hurrican Idalia in Florida

Friday 1 September 2023 00:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Satellite images capture Florida before and after Hurricane Idalia made landfall

Voices: The hidden crisis looming behind Hurricane Idalia

Thursday 31 August 2023 23:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Skylar Baker-Jordan writes:

Working in the mortgage industry in the 2010s, I knew three things to be true about Florida real estate transactions: closings do not require an attorney, it has a decent homebuyer assistance program, and homeowners’ insurance was becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. This is bad news for a state that already has homeowners’ insurance rates four times higher than the national average, making it the most expensive state for homeowner’s insurance.

Read on...

The hidden crisis looming behind Hurricane Idalia

Why destructive hurricanes often start with the letter ‘I’

Thursday 31 August 2023 22:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The process of naming hurricanes comes under scrutiny every year. Here are your questions answered...

Why destructive hurricanes like Idalia often start with the letter ‘I’

Thursday 31 August 2023 21:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Rare lightning phenomenon captured in the sky during Hurricane Idalia evacuations

ICYMI: DeSantis hit by power outage in middle of Hurricane Idalia briefing

Thursday 31 August 2023 21:49 , Oliver O'Connell

Ron DeSantis was hit by a power outage in the middle of his press conference about Hurricane Idalia on Wednesday morning, as the storm barreled into Florida’s Big Bend region.

Ron DeSantis hit by power outage in middle of Hurricane Idalia briefing

Thursday 31 August 2023 20:58 , Oliver O'Connell

Floridians surf in Hurricane Idalia waves as evacuations ordered from county

ICYMI: Idalia pummels Cedar Key, Florida as it comes ashore

Thursday 31 August 2023 20:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Hurricane Idalia pummels Cedar Key, Florida as it comes ashore

Watch: Biden says he will head to Florida on Saturday morning

Thursday 31 August 2023 20:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Did a rare blue supermoon make Hurricane Idalia worse for Florida?

Thursday 31 August 2023 19:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Weather experts believe gravitational pull from the moon made for higher tides than usual...

Rare blue supermoon could make Hurricane Idalia hit Florida even harder

Florida residents share heartbreaking photos of aftermath of Hurricane Idalia

Thursday 31 August 2023 19:20 , Louise Boyle

Florida residents shared heartbreaking photos of the destruction caused by Hurricane Idalia after the powerful storm swept into the state on Wednesday.

Idalia made landfall around 8am as an “extremely dangerous” Category 3 storm with 120mph winds and warnings of “catastrophic” coastal surge up to 15 feet in places. More than 250,000 customers were left without power on Wednesday.

The hurricane came ashore near Keaton Beach in Big Bend, southeast of Tallahassee, an area known as “Florida’s nature coast” and less densely-populated than other parts of the state.

But that was cold comfort for the small, tranquil communities dotting the coastline with Idalia forecast to be the strongest storm to hit the region in more than 100 years.

Read more...

Florida residents share heartbreaking photos of Hurricane Idalia’s wrath

Watch: Biden making remarks at FEMA headquarters

Thursday 31 August 2023 19:16 , Oliver O'Connell

Earlier: DeSantis gives Hurricane Idalia update as recovery efforts begin

Thursday 31 August 2023 18:50 , Oliver O'Connell

As the tropical storm remnants of Hurricane Idalia move out into the Atlantic, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gave an update this morning on the state’s recovery efforts.

Watch: Ron DeSantis gives Hurricane Idalia update as recovery efforts begin

Why stormy weather this week could make or break Ron DeSantis

Thursday 31 August 2023 18:20 , Oliver O'Connell

It’s no secret at this point that Ron DeSantis’s image has taken a hit since he hit his peak in November 2022 after he cruised to a nearly 20-point re-election as Florida governor in an otherwise dim year from Republicans. His lacklustre performance on the presidential campaign trail has led to many people questioning whether he can go the distance against Donald Trump in the GOP presidential primary.

And it looks like he might literally be facing even rougher waters than he already has weathered. This last week, a white gunman killed shot and killed three Black people at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville. In response, Mr DeSantis said that “the shooting, based on the manifesto that they discovered from the scumbag who did this, was racially motivated. He was targeting people based on their race.”

But when he attended a vigil in Jacksonville, a historically Republican city that recently elected a Democratic mayor, the residents of the city were not having it and they heckled the governor.

Mr DeSantis has staked his claim on making Florida a place where “wokeness” comes to die and has passed laws restricting how race is taught in classrooms in the state. Others Black leaders, including some Black Republican members of Congress, have also criticised the state’s middle school history curriculum, which says that enslaved people “developed skills” that could be “applied for personal benefit.”

Read more from Eric Garcia on how Hurricane Idalia will impact Ron DeSantis’s precarious political position.

Why Hurricane Idalia could derail the 2024 campaign

Where is Tropical Storm Idalia now?

Thursday 31 August 2023 18:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Now downgraded to a tropical storm, Idalia is moving off into the North Atlantic. Tropical storm warnings are still in place along the coast of North Carolina, but much of the danger has now passed and clean-up and recovery efforts are well-underway.

Tropical Storm Idalia - 11am, 31 August 2023 (National Hurricane Center, NOAA)
Tropical Storm Idalia - 11am, 31 August 2023 (National Hurricane Center, NOAA)

Satellite images capture Florida before and after Hurricane Idalia made landfall

Thursday 31 August 2023 17:50 , Louise Boyle

Satellite images have captured the life-threatening flooding in Florida after Hurricane Idalia battered the state.

Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend as a Category 3 storm early on Wednesday morning with wind speeds topping 125 mph.

The storm flooded streets, destroyed homes and downed power lines. Terrifying videos have shown a car being flipped into the air by a gust of wind and a gas station roof being blown off.

Andrea Cavallier reports

Satellite images capture Florida before and after Hurricane Idalia made landfall

Tree falls on Florida home during Hurricane Idalia

Thursday 31 August 2023 17:29 , Louise Boyle

A tree fell on a house in Perry, Florida, as Hurricane Idalia made landfall on Wednesday.

In a video shared on Facebook by resident Olivia Gregg, one downed tree can already be seen out of the window, before two more fall in the wind, with the second crashing into the home.

“Tree hit the house a little while ago. My immediate neighbours have massive trees on their houses as well,” Gregg wrote. “We are ok.”

Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend area as a Category 3 storm with wind speeds topping 125 mph.

Tree falls on Florida home as Hurricane Idalia devastates state

President Biden calls Governor DeSantis

Thursday 31 August 2023 16:50 , Louise Boyle

President Joe Biden called Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday morning, according to the White House pool report.

The president told Mr DeSantis that he had signed a Major Disaster Declaration and ordered all available federal resources to help with the continued response to Tropical Storm Idalia.

“The President reiterated that the people of Florida have his full support as they recover from the storm,” the report added.

Separately, Mr Biden declared that an emergency exists in the State of South Carolina and ordered federal assistance to support local response efforts to Hurricane Idalia.

Terrifying moment car carrying two people is flipped into air by Hurricane Idalia

Thursday 31 August 2023 16:36 , Louise Boyle

A car carrying two people was flipped into the air by a tornado in South Carolina, as Hurricane Idalia tore through the state.

The black sedan was travelling through severe rainfall near Goose Creek, north of Charleston, on Wednesday afternoon when severe gusts of wind threw it up in the air at an intersection.

Footage shows the car being flipped upwards by the strong winds, causing it to spin on its rear wheels before flipping upside down and landing on the roof of another oncoming car.

The Goose Creek Police Department said that the two people inside the car suffered minor injuries and were taken for treatment at a local hospital.

Rachel Sharp reports

Terrifying moment car carrying two people is flipped into air by Hurricane Idalia

Watch: Floridians surf in Hurricane Idalia waves amid coastal warnings

Thursday 31 August 2023 16:10 , Louise Boyle

Pictured: Hurricane Idalia spawns tornadoes in South Carolina

Thursday 31 August 2023 15:42 , Louise Boyle

Two people in a car were flipped upside down by a tornado caused by Hurricane Idalia in South Carolina (Goose Creek Police Department)
Two people in a car were flipped upside down by a tornado caused by Hurricane Idalia in South Carolina (Goose Creek Police Department)

Flood warning: There may be snakes

Thursday 31 August 2023 15:25 , Louise Boyle

The risks of wading in flooded streets were clear on Wednesday after a law enforcement agency posted pictures of snakes slithering out of the water.

“If there is flooding in your area, please shelter in place and do not wade in the water. You never know what could have washed in with the flooding,” Hernando County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook.

Other potential dangers include downed power lines, hazardous chemicals and deadly diseases.

Tree falls on Ron DeSantis’s mansion with his family inside as Hurricane Idalia rocks Florida

Thursday 31 August 2023 15:03 , Louise Boyle

A 100-year-old oak tree toppled onto Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ mansion in Tallahassee as Hurricane Idalia slammed into Florida.

The governor’s wife, Casey DeSantis, revealed the incident on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying she and her children were home at the time but no one was injured.

“Mason, Madison, Mamie and I were home at the time, but thankfully no one was injured,” she said. “Our prayers are with everyone impacted by the storm.”

Graig Graziosi reports

Tree falls on Ron DeSantis’ mansion as Hurricane Idalia rocks Florida

Tropical Storm Idalia - the latest

Thursday 31 August 2023 14:35 , Louise Boyle

Tropical Storm Idalia is continuing to lose power as it moves into the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, the National Weather Service reported.

However areas of flash, urban and moderate river flooding, with considerable impacts, are expected from eastern South Carolina through eastern North Carolina today.

Heavy rainfall is expected across the North Carolina coast through this afternoon but then conditions will begin to improve. There will be two to four inches of rain and up to five inches in some spots.

Coastal flooding is also expected in North Carolina today along with tropical storm force winds in parts of the US southeast coast.

In pictures: Florida residents inspect aftermath of, and damage from, Hurricane Idalia

Thursday 31 August 2023 14:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Lily Gumos, 11, of St. Pete Beach, Florida kayaks with her French bulldog along Blind Pass Road and 86th Avenue (AP)
Lily Gumos, 11, of St. Pete Beach, Florida kayaks with her French bulldog along Blind Pass Road and 86th Avenue (AP)
A man walks his motorcycle to Desoto Park after attempting to ride through an impassable South Bermuda Boulevard at Palmetto Beach (AP)
A man walks his motorcycle to Desoto Park after attempting to ride through an impassable South Bermuda Boulevard at Palmetto Beach (AP)
A boat is stranded near to a road in the town of Jena, after Hurricane Idalia made landfall near Keaton Beach, Florida (EPA)
A boat is stranded near to a road in the town of Jena, after Hurricane Idalia made landfall near Keaton Beach, Florida (EPA)
Chad Hinchman, 40, walks through one of his rental Airbnb properties on Hibiscus Avenue South, Pasadena, which flooded overnight (AP)
Chad Hinchman, 40, walks through one of his rental Airbnb properties on Hibiscus Avenue South, Pasadena, which flooded overnight (AP)
Makatla Ritchter (L) and her mother, Keiphra Line wade through flood waters after having to evacuate their home when the flood waters from Hurricane Idalia inundated it on 30 August 2023 in Tarpon Springs, Florida (Getty Images)
Makatla Ritchter (L) and her mother, Keiphra Line wade through flood waters after having to evacuate their home when the flood waters from Hurricane Idalia inundated it on 30 August 2023 in Tarpon Springs, Florida (Getty Images)
Ken Kruse looks out at the flood waters from Hurricane Idalia surrounding his apartment complex in Tarpon Springs (Getty Images)
Ken Kruse looks out at the flood waters from Hurricane Idalia surrounding his apartment complex in Tarpon Springs (Getty Images)

Why stormy weather this week could make or break Ron DeSantis

Thursday 31 August 2023 13:45 , Oliver O'Connell

It’s no secret at this point that Ron DeSantis’s image has taken a hit since he hit his peak in November 2022 after he cruised to a nearly 20-point re-election as Florida governor in an otherwise dim year from Republicans. His lacklustre performance on the presidential campaign trail has led to many people questioning whether he can go the distance against Donald Trump in the GOP presidential primary.

And it looks like he might literally be facing even rougher waters than he already has weathered. This last week, a white gunman killed shot and killed three Black people at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville. In response, Mr DeSantis said that “the shooting, based on the manifesto that they discovered from the scumbag who did this, was racially motivated. He was targeting people based on their race.”

But when he attended a vigil in Jacksonville, a historically Republican city that recently elected a Democratic mayor, the residents of the city were not having it and they heckled the governor.

Mr DeSantis has staked his claim on making Florida a place where “wokeness” comes to die and has passed laws restricting how race is taught in classrooms in the state. Others Black leaders, including some Black Republican members of Congress, have also criticised the state’s middle school history curriculum, which says that enslaved people “developed skills” that could be “applied for personal benefit.”

Read more from Eric Garcia on how Hurricane Idalia will impact Ron DeSantis’s precarious political position.

Why Hurricane Idalia could derail the 2024 campaign

Map shows path of Hurricane Idalia

Thursday 31 August 2023 13:27 , Rachel Sharp

Where is Hurricane Idalia now? Tropical storm system mapped

Biden declares state of emergency in South Carolina over Idalia

Thursday 31 August 2023 13:25 , Rachel Sharp

On Thursday morning, President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in South Carolina over storm Idalia.

“Today, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. declared that an emergency exists in the State of South Carolina and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Idalia beginning on August 29, 2023, and continuing,” he said in a declaration released by the White House. “The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe. “Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures (Category B), including direct Federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program will be provided in 23 counties and emergency protective measures (Category B), limited to direct Federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program will be provided in the remaining 23 counties. “Mr. Brian F. Schiller of FEMA has been appointed to coordinate Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.”

National Hurricane Center gives update on Idalia

Thursday 31 August 2023 13:05 , Rachel Sharp

“Tropical Storm #Idalia Advisory 19A: Heavy Rainfall and Life-Threatening Flash Flooding Continues In Portions of Eastern North Carolina. Winds Increasing Over the Outer Banks and Pamlico Sound,” the agency tweeted.

Hurricanes are getting stronger. Here’s why

Thursday 31 August 2023 12:45 , Oliver O'Connell

As the global average temperature increases, largely due to the carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, the ocean is taking a major hit.

The ocean has absorbed 90 per cent of warming in recent decades and all that extra heat is driving historically high water temperatures.

Warmer waters supercharge tropical cyclones with more heavy rainfall and storm surge as they come ashore.

While the frequency of hurricanes of tropical storms is not increasing, the chance that they become stronger, more destructive systems has increased by about 8 per cent per decade in the past 40 years, according to climate scientists.

The proportion of Category 4 and 5 tropical cyclones is projected to increase around the world in the coming decades due to human-caused warming, according to the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from 1 June to 30 November, is forecast to be above average this year.

Click here to read the full blog on The Independent's website