Hurricane Idalia plowed through Florida's Apalachee Bay as a Category 3 hurricane on Wednesday.
It's the first time a serious hurricane has hit the area, according to the National Weather Service.
The geography of the area may have worsened the storm's effects.
On Wednesday, Hurricane Idalia brought a Category 3 hurricane to Florida's Apalachee Bay for the first time.
A serious hurricane, one that ranks Category 3 or higher, hasn't hit this stretch of land on Florida's northwest coast since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1851, according to the NWS.
On Wednesday morning, the winds of the storm reached 125 mph. Idalia also brought with it a storm surge — a wall of water — up to 16 feet high.
After the initial storm surge, intense flash floods began moving through the Big Bend, piling water onto the streets.
"When you try to compare this storm to others, DON'T. No one has seen this," the National Weather Service's Tallahassee office shared on X, the platform formerly called Twitter.
—NWS Tallahassee (@NWSTallahassee) August 29, 2023
Big Bend is the informal name for the region of land that borders Apalachee Bay. It's known for its fields of wild sea grass, shallow clear waters, and abundant wildlife, according to the US Geological Survey.
It's home to some of the more sparsely populated areas in Florida, including Taylor County — only the 54th most populated county out of the 67 that comprise Florida, USA Today reported. Even so, Florida's urban rescue crews are poised to swoop in and help people who may be trapped.
The geography of the Big Bend area may have made the effects of the storm more intense, University at Albany atmospheric scientist Kristen Corbosiero told the Associated Press.
"The water can get piled up in that bay. And then the winds of the storm come around, they go around counter-clockwise, that's going the same direction, the same shape of the bay so that water can just get pushed in there," she said.
As of 2 p.m. ET, some of Idalia's early threats had begun to ease, Tallahassee's NWS announced. But the officials urged that with flooding, citizens should proceed with caution.
—NWS Tallahassee (@NWSTallahassee) August 30, 2023
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