Florida, USA, prepares for Hurricane Idalia to arrive

More than 1.6 million people have been ordered to evacuate their homes in Florida as Hurricane Idalia approaches. Forecasters say Category 3 winds (starting at 111 miles per hour, or 178 kilometers per hour) will make landfall in the northwestern part of the state this Wednesday. .

“You still have time this morning (yesterday) to make your final preparations, but you have to do it now,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a news conference Tuesday, announcing that there will be no tolls on the highway. be levied. to facilitate the movement of the population.

The governor, who has declared a state of emergency in 46 of Florida’s 67 counties, has urged residents of coastal towns and flood-prone areas to follow mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders issued over the past 24 hours.

Speaking at the State Emergency Operations Center, DeSantis warned that the biggest concern for authorities is storm surge, which could raise sea levels by up to 15 feet in parts of Florida’s northwest coast called the “Big Bend.” (4.5 meters) above the usual level.

“When there’s a storm of this nature, we say run from the water and hide from the wind,” the governor told Fox News, which halted his Republican primary campaign because of the hurricane.

In addition to the temporary shelters, hotels in the area through which Idalia, currently a Category 1 hurricane, is expected to pass, are prepared to accommodate evacuees.

He also stressed that about 30,000 workers are ready to restore power if the hurricane causes damage to poles and wiring.

The imminent arrival of Idalia as a major hurricane has led to the closure of schools in 42 school districts today and tomorrow, as well as 23 universities.

The arrival of Idalia, which was 440km southwest of the city of Tampa at 11am (15 GMT), has prompted the deployment of 1,100 National Guard troops, who have boats and planes for rescue. work.

The international airports of Tampa and St. Pete-Clearwater will remain closed this Tuesday, while public rail operator Amtrak canceled or modified more than a dozen routes in Florida.

Evacuation orders also included MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Bay, as well as some of the Chevron Company personnel working on three oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, south of New Orleans.

Following Idalia’s arrival on the Florida coast of the Gulf of Mexico, where it is expected to make landfall as a major hurricane, i.e. at least Category 3 (out of a maximum of 5), the cyclone will make landfall remain in the north of this state and southeastern Georgia.

Source: El heraldo