As Idalia approaches, some links to resources and a look at what happens after the storm
As Hurricane Idalia makes its way toward landfall near Florida’s Big Bend, here are some key links for those in the path of the storm:
- For a comprehensive look at resources available, shelters open by county, evacuation info and more visit FloridaDisaster.org, from the Florida Department of Emergency Management.
- The Red Cross also has a good rundown of storm tips and resources.
- Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency in 46 counties: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden,Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lake, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Nassau, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, and Wakulla counties.
- The National Hurricane Center will have updates on the storm track and forecast.
- Local media in affected communities — such as the Tampa Bay Times, Tallahassee Democrat, Gainesville Sun, WTSP, WFLA-TV, WCTV and many others — will also be key sources of local information.
The impacts of a storm like Idalia don’t disappear after the storm passes. Last year Hurricane Ian not only damaged major swaths of southwest Florida, it pushed huge amounts of runoff, sediment, untreated wastewater and more into area waterways that among other things helped fuel a subsequent red tide.
Depending on the path Idalia takes and how much rain it drops, it could fill up an already-high Lake Okeechobee, leading to damaging discharges to the east and west coasts. As of Tuesday morning the lake stood at 15.32 feet; U.S. Army Corps officials have said discharges will begin when the lake gets to 16.5 feet.
The math, in the wake of a storm like Idalia, is not encouraging.
But for now, the immediate threat to life and property takes precedence. Our thoughts are with those in the path of the storm.