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September 01, 2020 10:27am
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Idalia heads into Georgia, the Carolinas as downgraded hurricane

After making landfall as a Category 3 storm earlier Wednesday, Hurricane Idalia is now making its way north to Georgia and the Carolinas.

Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall in Florida as a dangerous Category 3 storm early Wednesday is now crossing Georgia and headed toward South Carolina, as a downgraded hurricane. 

The National Hurricane Center's 2 p.m. update indicated that Idalia's center was about 100 miles southwest of Savannah, Georgia, with top sustained winds of 75 mph, slightly above a hurricane force at 74 mph.

Georgia officials say Hurricane Idalia is bringing down power lines and resulting in scattered reports of buildings damaged by falling trees.

Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday that the storm's impacts initially appeared to be less severe than 2018's Hurricane Michael, which caused widespread damage in south Georgia. This storm is narrow and moving fast, but he warned those in its path to be aware of the dangers.

Georgia Emergency Management Agency meteorologist Will Lanxton says storm surge will likely be limited by the storm's speed, but there could be minor to moderate flooding around Savannah at high tide Wednesday evening.

In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster said for the time being that no state officers would be closed and there would be no mandatory evacuation. 

"This is not as bad as some we've seen," said McMaster, who has ordered at least three coastal evacuations since taking office in 2017. 


He said the state is ready to respond if the storm is worse than anticipated – and he encouraged people to stay home. 

Flooding could be the state's biggest threat. Wednesday evening’s high tide in Charleston Harbor is forecast to be nearly 9 feet above normal sea level or about 3 feet above normal high tide.

The city opened parking garages so people could park well above ground and gathered barricades to close off streets in the low-lying city, which frequently floods whenever tides are above normal.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the state is anticipating possible flash flooding across the Piedmont and coastal plain. Tropical storm warnings remain in effect for the entire coast. 

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