“... unfortunately, we've got a lot of people that are hurting right now.”
Crystal River Mayor Joe Meek after Hurricane Idalia (now a tropical storm) flooded the Florida town of around 3,500 residents on Wednesday.
aug 31, 2023
Why It Matters: Though the exact total is still being calculated, "Meek estimates Crystal River, a tourism hub on the coast of western Florida, was hit with seven to nine feet of storm surge," USA Today reports. The town, located in the Big Bend region of Florida, had been under evacuation orders before Hurricane Idalia made landfall on Wednesday, and Meek said some homes have four to six feet of water in them due to the storm surge (an abnormal rise in water levels due to a storm). Meek estimated the recovery process could take as long as a year, while also noting, "It's a sad day for Crystal River, but we’re a resilient community that has been through this before, and I'm confident that we will come out of it stronger."
Big Picture: Idalia, now a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph as of Thursday at 11 a.m. ET, has impacted Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and even parts of southern Virginia. The storm is currently moving off the coast of North Carolina, continuing to bring heavy rain and flash flooding across the state's coastal region. The National Hurricane Center's most recent update on the storm notes, "Moderate river flooding, with considerable impacts, will continue across coastal North Carolina through today."
Photo Credit: Official Facebook Page of Crystal River Mayor Joe Meek