Hurricane Idalia heading for Suwannee River Basin 2023-08-29

Update 2023-08-29: Georgia declares State of Emergency for Hurricane Idalia 2023-08-29.

Hurricane Idalia is now Category 1 and is headed a bit farther west, taking it straight up the Suwannee River Basin.

[Hurricane Idalia probable path cone and collapsed road]
Hurricane Idalia probable path cone and collapsed road

Cat 1 means sustained winds of at least 74 mph, up to 95 mph. Inland it will probably rapidly degrade to a Tropical Storm. That still means 39-73 mph winds.

Before landfall, Hurricane Idalia may strengthen to cat 2 (96-110 mph with extensive damage) or cat 3 (111-129 mph with devastating damage).

I’m going out and securing anything that might turn into a projectile, even though I’m about a hundred miles from the Gulf Coast.

For those who are tired of being warned: this is a hurricane. It’s much better to be prepared than sorry.

I drove up from Gainesville yesterday, and there were already rain gusts strong enough to buffet my car and to cause everyone on I-75 to slow to 45 MPH. When the wind gets up to 50 MPH, you don’t want to be driving, even if you don’t run into flooding or bridges out. At 74 MPH, you want to be inside something solid.

[Probable path cone of Hurricane Idalia 2023-08-29 4 AM, National Hurricane Center]
Probable path cone of Hurricane Idalia 2023-08-29 4 AM, National Hurricane Center

Shirley Kokidko has cancelled the outing she was to lead tomorrow, the Banks Lake Full Blue Supermoon Paddle 2023-08-30. You don’t want to be out on a lake in high winds.

If you haven’t stocked up already, now is the time. Remember everybody else is doing the same. No shoving or hoarding, please.

If you are near the Gulf Coast, consider evacuating now.

If you do not evacuate, know where your nearest shelter is. Know your utility outage number.

The National Weather Service Jacksonville shows a Hurricane Warning for most counties in the Suwannee River Basin, and a Tropical Storm Warning for the rest.

[Hurricane Warning most Suwannee Basin Counties 2023-08-29--07-14-nws-jax]
Hurricane Warning most Suwannee Basin Counties 2023-08-29 07:14 NWS JAX

Most Florida counties in the Basin have closed schools. Some (Suwannee County) have issued mandatory evacuation orders for people in risky structures, and others have issued voluntary orders. Here’s a summary from yesterday, Evacuations ordered ahead of Idalia, shelters open in North Central Florida, Ryan Turbeville, WCJB-TV, 2023-08-28. Check your county’s EMA website or facebook page.

The state of Florida has state of emergency expanded from 33 counties to 46, including all of those in the Suwannee River Basin.

The U.S. president has declared an emergency for Florida: “Declaring an emergency allows the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief and provide needed assistance.”

In Georgia, school closings may happen, but many have not yet been announced. However, Lowndes County State Court Non-Jury Trials are Cancelled for August 30, 2023.

[Collapsed Carter Way in Lowndes County, GA 2018-12-04 WALB TV]
Collapsed Carter Way in Lowndes County, GA 2018-12-04 WALB TV

You know it’s serious when Florida suspends tolls on toll roads.

Actually, you will know Florida is serious when it finances solar panels on house and business roofs, along with batteries, so people are not without power for weeks after every hurricane.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!