Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend as a Category 3 storm early Wednesday morning with wind speeds topping 125 mph.
The storm flooded streets, destroyed homes and downed power lines. Terrifying videos have shown a car being flipped into the air by a gust of wind and a gas station roof being blown off.
Water levels in the Steinhatchee River surged from 1 foot to 8 feet in just an hour, the National Weather Service said.
The storm was declared “an unprecedented event” by the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, because no major hurricanes on record have ever passed through the bay abutting the Big Bend.
At least three people have so far been killed in the extreme weather, with Florida Highway Patrol revealing that two men died in two separate weather-related road accidents on Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile in Georgia, a man was killed by a falling tree while he was trying to clear another tree off a highway.
As of 5am ET on Thursday morning, the National Hurricane Center said that flooding due to heavy rains and strong winds would continue to ravage coastal North Carolina throughout today.
Idalia is then expected to chart its path out into the Atlantic later on Thursday.
Florida has now begun its recovery efforts after the storm passed through on Wednesday, with shocking satellite images showing the extent of the damage.
Before and after satellite images showed how Ozello, an unincorporated community in Citrus County, Florida, flooded within hours:
Images also captured the stark difference between Florida’s Crystal River in January and the same area after the storm:
A combination picture shows satellite images of Ozello before flooding and after flooding: