ORLANDO, Fla. — Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida as a Category 3 storm Wednesday. It has since weakened into a tropical storm. Read live updates about its aftermath below:
11 p.m. update
The Orange County Convention Center is now serving as a staging area for the entire state following the impact of Idalia.
Eight teams made up of over 400 people are using the convention center as home base. They’re assessing damage locally and rescuing those hit hard by Idalia.
See more in the video below:
8 p.m. update
Gov. Ron DeSantis gave another update on Idalia earlier this evening.
Watch it in the video below:
6:40 p.m. update
Idalia has moved out of the state, but for some its impacts will be felt for a long time because of the dangerous storm surge, fierce winds and torrential rain.
See the sights and sounds of Idalia in the video below:
5:25 p.m. update
The Orlando Utilities Commission said its crews are on their way to Tallahassee to help with power restoration efforts in the wake of Hurricane Idalia, which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.
“We’re grateful that we can return the favor as the (City of Tallahassee Utilities) aided our community after Hurricane Ian,” OUC said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
After dealing with flooding and storm damage last year, Lake County avoided any major damage during Idalia.
Channel 9 spoke to the owner of the Lakeside Inn, who hosted line workers who were waiting to jump into action to help restore power. See their story in the video below:
5 p.m. update
Idalia weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm Wednesday afternoon while moving over land.
The National Hurricane Center said the risk of flash flooding, storm surge and strong winds continues across portions of Georgia and the Carolinas.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will hold a news conference at 6 p.m., providing an update on Idalia’s aftermath.
You can watch it live on Channel 9 Eyewitness News at 6 or by clicking here once it begins.
Elsewhere in Florida, Hurricane Idalia caused significant damage to Cedar Key, as Channel 9′s Jeff Deal saw when he visited the area.
Officials started letting residents back onto the island Wednesday afternoon but told them to leave again shortly thereafter.
Click here to see video of the flooding.
At Orlando International Airport, 53 flights were canceled as of Wednesday evening. Dozens of others were delayed.
4 p.m. update
As of 3 p.m., Port Canaveral reopened with no restrictions following Hurricane Idalia.
3:40 p.m. update
Gov. Ron DeSantis provided an update on Hurricane Idalia and the response to the storm. Watch it in full below:
3 p.m. update
President Joe Biden is continuing his remarks about Hurricane Idalia and its impact on Florida.
Watch his remarks live on Channel 9 and by clicking here.
2:30 p.m. update
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said SunRail will resume operations Friday during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
Demings said he was pleased that the county fared well in the storm.
“Storms are unpredictable,” he said. “We plan for the worse; we hope for the best.”
He said the county will be better prepared for future storms because of its experience in preparing for Idalia.
An Orange County Public Schools spokesman said during the news conference that students will not have to make up Wednesday’s missed day of school.
2 p.m. update
President Joe Biden will address the nation after Hurricane Idalia brought catastrophic flooding to Florida as a Category 3 storm.
Watch his remarks on Channel 9 or by clicking here, beginning at 2:15 p.m.
Shortly before then, at 2 p.m., Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings will provide an update on how the county fared in the storm.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will also hold another news conference at 3:45 p.m.
Click here to stream the news conferences live.
In Tallahassee, Idalia caused a 100-year-old oak tree to fall on the Florida Governor’s Mansion, first Lady Casey DeSantis said.
Casey DeSantis said she and her children were in the home at the time the tree fell but no one was injured. See a photo by clicking here.
12:35 p.m. update
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is giving a live update on Hurricane Idalia’s aftermath now on Channel 9 Eyewitness News at Noon.
There are no known fatalities related to the storm so far, DeSantis said.
Click here to watch his remarks live.
12 p.m. update
Stream special live team coverage of Hurricane Idalia’s aftermath now on Channel 9 Eyewitness News at Noon.
Click here to watch it now.
11:15 a.m. update
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will give an update on Hurricane Idalia’s aftermath at 12:30 p.m., and President Joe Biden will deliver remarks on the storm at 1:45 p.m. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings will also speak at 2 p.m. You can watch the events live on Channel 9 and by clicking here once they begin.
Have you safely captured photos or videos of the storm’s aftermath? You can send them to us by clicking here. They could end up on Channel 9.
As people in Florida deal with the storm’s aftermath, power outages remain a big concern.
It’s important to know what to do if the power goes out. Click here to read more.
10:40 a.m. update
Channel 9′s Shannon Butler is seeing major flooding in Crystal River, Florida, left behind in Hurricane Idalia’s wake.
The floodwaters have submerged roadways, but that hasn’t stopped motorists from driving through flooded streets.
Officials urge drivers to not drive through floodwater for their safety.
See Butler’s full report below, and click here to stream live, continuous coverage from Channel 9 Eyewitness News.
9:40 a.m. update
Elsewhere in Central Florida, Flagler County has rescinded the evacuation order it issued Tuesday afternoon for those living in mobile or manufactured homes, RVs and unsafe structures.
Officials there said they have also started the process of closing the emergency shelter at Rymfire Elementary School.
“We nevertheless urge residents to use caution,” Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord said. “We will still be having some tropical storm-like conditions, but they are not as intense as initially anticipated.”
9:30 a.m. update
The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority said that as of 9 a.m. all LYNX fixed route and NeighborLink services have started to serve customers using a regular weekday schedule.
Officials said there could be minor delays as the bus system ramps back up to full service by 11 a.m.
The agency said ACCESS LYNX will offer life-sustaining trips only Wednesday and that the paratransit provider will return to full service with a reservation Thursday. Customers are asked to make their appointment as soon as possible.
The LYNX Customer Service Window will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
9:13 a.m. update
Widespread flooding has been reported on Anna Maria Island in Manatee County.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office posted photos on Facebook showing streets and homes flooded by Hurricane Idalia.
Deputies said the Cortez Road and Manatee Avenue bridges are closed to the island.
Click here or scroll below to see photos of flooding throughout Florida.
8:40 a.m. update
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office shared several images showing street flooding.
Officials are warning residents to not venture out into the floodwaters.
Several places in North Florida are reporting major flooding from Hurricane Idalia.
7:55 a.m. update
Hurricane Idalia has made landfall as a powerful Category 3 storm.
Landfall has been reported near Keaton Beach in Taylor County.
WFTV has live coverage of Hurricane Idalia on Channel 9 and TV 27.
7:15 a.m. update
NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft confirmed Hurricane Idalia has slightly downgraded and is now back to Category 3 status.
Idalia now has maximum sustained winds of 125 mph.
Idalia has yet to make landfall and is projected to come ashore near Keaton Beach in Taylor County.
6:59 a.m. update
A tornado warning has been issued for parts of Marion County.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Ocala, Santos and Shady.
The warning is expected to last until 7:30 a.m.
6:05 a.m. update
A tornado warning has been issued for parts of Polk County.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Lake Wales, Avon Park and Frostproof.
The warning is expected to last until 6:30 a.m.
5:55 a.m. update
Gov. Ron DeSantis is planning to hold a news conference Wednesday morning.
The governor is planning to speak around 6:30 a.m. from the Florida Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.
5 a.m. update
Hurricane Idalia continues to rapidly intensify in the Gulf of Mexico and is now classified as a powerful Category 4 hurricane.
Idalia has still to make landfall and could become even stronger before the eye comes ashore.
Idalia now has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.
Forecast models show Idalia should make landfall the Big Bend area of Florida.
4:45 a.m. update
NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft confirmed Hurricane Idalia continues to strengthen and is nearly a Category 4 storm.
Idalia now has maximum sustained winds of 125 mph.
Idalia will be upgraded to a Category 4 storm when its maximum winds reach 130 mph.
Officials said Idalia’s presser is drooping quickly and will continue to gain strength before making landfall.
4:38 a.m. update
A tornado warning has been issued for parts of Orange and Seminole counties.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Bithlo, Geneva and Chuluota.
The warning is expected to last until 5 a.m.
4:30 a.m. update
A tornado warning has been issued for a section of Sumter County.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Bushnell in Sumter County.
The warning also includes Brooksville and Floral City.
The warning is projected to last until 5 a.m.
4:10 a.m. update
A tornado warning has been issued for parts of Orange and Osceola Counties.
The National Weather Service said a tornado warning has been issued for areas of St. Cloud, Bithlo and Wedgefield.
The warning is estimated to last until 4:30 a.m.
3:45 a.m. update
The Florida Highway Patrol said The Skyway Bridge in the Tampa Bay area is now closed to all traffic.
The bridge is closed for safety concerns when sustained winds raise over 50 mph.
3 a.m. update
As people in Florida brace for Hurricane Idalia, power outages are a big concern.
It’s important to know what to do if the power goes out.
You should have a plan in place, and hopefully have your hurricane supplies ready to go.
Here are ways to check on power outages in your area.
2:03 a.m. update
Idalia has strengthened into a major Category 3 hurricane.
Forecast data shows Idalia could continue to gain strength and reach Category 4 status before making landfall.
1:55 a.m. update
A tornado warning has been issued for Polk County until 2 a.m.
1:20 a.m. update
Hurricane Idalia is producing storm conditions along the west coast of Florida. Catastrophic storm surge and destructive winds are expected in the Big Bend area, according to the National Hurricane Center.
12:05 a.m. update
Hurricane Idalia is now forecast to make landfall as an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm early Wednesday near Perry, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.
The National Hurricane Center said Idalia will cause catastrophic storm surge inundation of 12 to 16 feet above ground level in Florida’s Big Bend region.
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