Florida and South Georgia brace for Hurricane Idalia: What should Bainbridge expect?

Published 5:50 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2023

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As of the writing of this article, Tropical Storm Idalia is now Hurricane Idalia; it is predicted to make landfall sometime Wednesday morning, and is expected to have strengthened from a Category 1 to a Category 3 hurricane. Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for the state of Georgia on Tuesday afternoon. “We are taking every precaution ahead of Hurricane Idalia’s landfall tomorrow, and I am taking this additional executive action to ensure state assets are ready to respond,” the governor said in the Tuesday announcement.

Fortunately for Bainbridge, Idalia is also predicted to take just enough of an eastward turn for the main body of the storm to miss Bainbridge.

The Post-Searchlight spoke with WTXL Chief Meteorologist Casanova Nurse, who gave a breakdown of what residents should expect on Wednesday morning. Should the storm’s east-bound shift go as predicted, residents should still expect winds of 35 mph, up to 40 mph at their strongest. In addition to wind, clouds and rainfall up to two inches are also predicted. While some parts of inland Florida and Georgia are expected to experience flooding, according to maps provided by NOAA, Decatur County only has a slight/marginal risk.

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“This will definitely not be like Michael for Bainbridge,” Nurse said. While Bainbridge will miss the main body of the storm, coastal areas of Florida, from Appalachicola to Tampa, are under a warning for a life-threatening storm surge. As of the writing of this article, Idalia has reached windspeeds of 80 mph, and storm surges are predicted to be up to 11 feet.

Though this may not be as bad for Bainbridge as Hurricane Michael, some basic storm preparations are still advisable. Idalia is expected to weaken back to a Category 1 hurricane as it progresses over the mainland.