Tropical Storm Idalia descended on the Carolinas on its way out to the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday (Aug. 31), leaving a trail of flooding and destruction throughout the Southeast that stretched back to its landfall as a hurricane in Florida, according to the Associated Press.
Rescue and repair efforts continued in the areas the storm passed Wednesday and there was no immediate word on the toll from the ferocious winds and inundating waters, but authorities counted at least one death.
The storm left as many as a half-million customers without power in Florida and other states at one point as it ripped down power poles and lines. Still, it was far less destructive than feared, providing only glancing blows to Tampa Bay and other more populated areas as it came ashore with 125 mph (201 kph) winds in rural Florida.
The weakening storm still packed winds of up to 60 mph (96 kph) as it blasted through Georgia and South Carolina on Wednesday evening. It was expected to reach the North Carolina coast Thursday and roll off into the ocean through the weekend.
No hurricane-related deaths were officially confirmed in Florida, but the state’s highway patrol reported two people killed in separate weather-related crashes just hours before Idalia made landfall.
Even so, Idalia appeared to be far less destructive than first feared. It avoided large urban regions, striking only glancing blows to Tampa Bay and other more populated areas while focusing its fury on the rural Big Bend section.
However, the damage there was likely to be extensive.