Idalia updates: Damaging tornadoes, severe flooding from Florida to Carolinas

Idalia, now a tropical storm, touched down in Florida as a Category 3 hurricane.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023, 3:18 PM EDT

Idalia touched down in Florida's Big Bend region on Wednesday morning as a powerful Category 3 hurricane -- the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the Apalachee Bay.

Idalia has since weakened into a tropical storm and moved inland over Georgia and the Carolinas.

Latest headlines:

Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern.
Aug 31, 2023, 3:18 PM EDT

Biden to visit Florida on Saturday

President Joe Biden plans to travel to Florida on Saturday to survey the damage from Hurricane Idalia, he told reporters during a visit at FEMA headquarters.

A backyard of a house is seen flooded in Steinhatchee, Fla., on Aug. 30, 2023, after Hurricane Idalia made landfall.
Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

The visit was billed as one to thank FEMA staff for their work during the hurricane and the Maui wildfires.

Biden noted that he once again spoke with Florida governor and 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis on Thursday.

"Governor DeSantis and I spoke again this morning and let him know that I accrued his major disaster declaration," Biden said.

-ABC News' Molly Nagle

Aug 31, 2023, 2:51 PM EDT

DeSantis surveys damage in Big Bend

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Steinhatchee in Florida's Big Bend region on Thursday to survey the damage caused by Idalia.

"I'm seeing a lot of damage, and I'm also seeing a lot of resiliency," DeSantis said.

A storm-damaged gas station is seen after Hurricane Idalia crossed the state on Aug. 30, 2023 in Perry, Fla.
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A person canoes through the flooded streets caused by Hurricane Idalia passing offshore on Aug. 30, 2023 in Tarpon Springs, Fla.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The governor said 135,000 customers are still without power in the state and noted that there have been 430,000 restorations since the storm hit on Wednesday.

DeSantis said most schools that closed due to the hurricane will be open by Friday.

-ABC News' Will McDuffie and Hannah Demissie

Aug 31, 2023, 2:30 PM EDT

Idalia moves off the coast

Tropical Storm Idalia is moving off the North Carolina coast and heading out to sea.

Rain and gusty winds will continue to hit North Carolina's Outer Banks through the afternoon before trailing off Thursday evening.

Parts of eastern North Carolina recorded more than 6 inches of rain, causing flash flooding Thursday morning.

Aug 31, 2023, 12:47 PM EDT

Charleston 'dodged the bullet': Mayor

Charleston, which is vulnerable to flooding, recorded a storm surge of 3.47 feet -- its fifth highest on record.

But Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said the city "really dodged the bullet" of Hurricane Idalia.

"The wind and the rain impact were pretty minimal," he said Thursday.

Twenty-two water rescues were reported, which mostly were for people trapped in flooded cars, the mayor said.

-ABC News' Jason Volack

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