Deadly Idalia storm surge barrels through Georgia and the Carolinas, with 9ft tides breaching seawall in Charleston, roads turned into rivers, homes flooded and THOUSANDS without power – after wild tornado flipped car on its roof
The seawall in Charleston, South Carolina was breached Wednesday evening as Idalia continued to cut a swath across the United States.
The massive storm cell killed at least two people, destroyed thousands of homes and left 300,000 people without power.
The Battery, a seawall and boardwalk district known for its stately antebellum homes, was battered by waves as night fell.
The water was knee high in the streets along the historic area: South Battery, King Street, and Murray Boulevard.
Road cones and barricades were washed away, WCBD reported. A woman was filmed leaning against the railing above the battery, bracing herself as she took photos as the waves washed into her legs and boots.
The city pumped water back into the sea, but that was not enough to hold back the current.
At 8:18 p.m., the tide level in Charleston Harbor stood at 12 feet, according to the National Weather Service — making it the fifth-highest peak tide since records began in 1921.
There were warnings for a storm surge of up to four feet.
Charleston County Sheriffs Office tweeted this photo of the flood on Wednesday night urging people not to take to the streets
The National Weather Service (NWS) Charleston warned people to avoid the beach and flooding.
URGENT: Dangerous coastal flooding is affecting much of the lower coast of South Carolina, they tweeted.
“Don’t go to the beach and stay out of the floodwaters. The tide level in Charleston Harbor is now over 9.03 ft MLLW (3.27 ft MHHW). This is a dangerous situation!’
Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) is the average level of the lowest tide for each day calculated over a period of 19 years, while MHHW (Mean Higher High Water) is the average high water.
Smaller towns along the Charleston coast also felt the power of Idalia, which, although downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm by 5 p.m. Wednesday, was still generating winds of 60 mph, strong enough to knock down power lines.
“It’s a good night to stay in,” the Charleston County Sheriffs Office tweeted.
“Trees have fallen. Roads are flooded. If you encounter street flooding, turn around. Don’t drown.’
They tweeted a photo from McClellanville, 40 miles north up the coast from Charleston, of flooded streets.
Strong winds were seen whipping ocean currents onto the roads in Charleston
A car plunged into floodwaters on Ocean Boulevard in North Myrtle Beach
A large oak tree fell on the carport of a home in Windsor Forest as Hurricane Idalia passed through Georgia
The waves hit houses near Edisto Beach in South Carolina
On the Isle of Palms, a barrier island north of the historic city of Charleston, police tweeted a photo of flooded streets.
’41st Avenue on Waterway Blvd has deep standing water. Avoid the area,” they said.
To the south, Folly Beach was flooded, with pictures of deep water and crews trying to restore power.
According to PowerOutage.us, by midnight, 37,000 people in South Carolina were without power, while 148,000 in Georgia and 151,000 in Florida were still cut off.
Earlier on Wednesday, a A tornado that swept through South Carolina threw a car onto its roof, causing minor injuries to two people.
The black sedan was driving through torrential rain shortly after 2:30 p.m. near Goose Creek, on the outskirts of Charleston, when a tornado lifted the car’s two rear wheels and sent it spinning on its hood.
The front two wheels were then lifted by the wind and the car was carried into the air, crashing roof-on to the ground, on top of another car.
Two people are known to have been killed in the storm so far: a man from Gainesville, Florida, in a car accident early Wednesday, and a second man in Valdosta, Georgia, who was killed by a falling tree Wednesday afternoon.
The sheriff of Taylor County, Florida — where the landfall occurred at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday — said Wednesday evening there had been no reports of deaths or serious injuries, despite winds reaching 125 mph.
Flooded streets on Isle of Palms, a barrier island off Charleston, are pictured Wednesday
Myrtle Beach, 100 miles north of Charleston, was also flooded Wednesday
People walk onto a flooded Ocean Boulevard in North Myrtle Beach on Wednesday
But Wayne Padgett added that that could change once the small towns along the beach are searched.
Much of Cedar Key, an island home to 700 people in the eye of the storm, was likely underwater.
“We’ve had several trees down, debris on the roads — don’t come,” the Cedar Key Fire and Rescue Department said in a social media post.
That area was hit by one of the largest storm surges.
According to the department post, most streets around the downtown area were flooded.
Tampa was hit hard: The Pasco County sheriff’s office, north of Tampa, said its employees helped evacuate more than 60 people from flooded homes.
Pasco County administrator Mike Carballa told CNN that up to 6,000 homes in his area were damaged.
Pictured, the sedan is lifted off its wheels on Wednesday afternoon and spun on the hood – the two people inside escaped with only minor injuries
The car is pictured on its side after it was lifted into the air and slammed to the ground in South Carolina on Wednesday
“The storm surge really flooded a lot of houses. So we estimate that between the (four and six thousand) houses in our province along our coastline there is one meter to one and a half meters of water,” he said.
The path of destruction was rather narrow, but strong enough to destroy telephone poles, fallen trees and houses.
Florida officials said there are nearly 1,000 bridges that need to be inspected for storm damage.
As darkness fell, curfews were in effect in many parts of Florida.
Citrus County, which includes the hard-hit Crystal River, imposed a curfew from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday, warning of “an abundance of wildlife” lurking in the floodwaters.
Idalia was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday
An oak tree was downed during the storm and crashed into the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee, but no one was injured
“Citizens living in this area will not be allowed to return until the curfew is lifted and conditions are deemed safe,” the Citrus County Board of Commissioners said.
The board warned people to “exercise extreme caution if they venture back outside” and not to walk or drive through standing water.
“There is no way of knowing what dangers are hidden beneath the surface, not to mention possible contamination,” the report said.
The statement added that there is “an abundance of wildlife that has been displaced as a result of this storm.”