Flood waters from Hurricane Idalia inundate Steinhatchee, Florida
The president assessed the scale of the storm’s impact from the air, before meeting members of the public on a walking tour.
But while Mr Biden was joined by one of the state’s Republican senators – Rick Scott – his trip was snubbed by governor Ron DeSantis, a possible rival in the next presidential election.
“As I’ve told your governor, if there’s anything your state needs, I’m ready to mobilize that support,” Mr Biden said.
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.
At around 5pm on Saturday afternoon the National Hurricane Center issued what it said was its final advisory on Idalia, noting that the post-tropical cyclone had moved away off Bermuda and that the storm warning for the island was discontinued.
Potentially dangerous surf and rip currents from Idalia will continue to hit the US east coast throughout the Labor Day weekend, it warned.
Hurricanes are getting stronger. Here’s why
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.
National Hurricane Center gives update on Idalia
“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.
Biden declares state of emergency in South Carolina over Idalia
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.”
Map shows path of Hurricane Idalia
Storm is zeroing in on Carolinas after leaving trail of devastation in northern Florida
Why stormy weather this week could make or break Ron DeSantis
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.
Florida governor is facing negative headlines with Hurricane Idalia and the shooting in Jacksonville, but he has a chance to get good coverage too
In pictures: Florida residents inspect aftermath of, and damage from, Hurricane Idalia
Tropical Storm Idalia - the latest
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.
Tree falls on Ron DeSantis’s mansion with his family inside as Hurricane Idalia rocks Florida
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
No one was injured
Flood warning: There may be snakes
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.
Pictured: Hurricane Idalia spawns tornadoes in South Carolina
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