Historic storm pounds Florida, Georgia, Carolinas

PERRY, Fla. − Downgraded to a tropical storm, what had been Hurricane Idalia powered across southeastern Georgia and the Carolinas on Wednesday evening after making landfall earlier along Florida’s Big Bend as a Category 3 tropical cyclone and driving “catastrophic” storm surge and flooding for hundreds of miles.

As of 2 a.m. Thursday, the storm’s center was located 20 miles southwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, heading northeast at 21 mph with sustained winds of 60 mph.

“Flash and river flooding is likely across Georgia and the eastern Carolinas through Thursday,” the National Hurricane Center said in its afternoon update.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a late-afternoon briefing that some of the hardest-hit areas are laden with debris, severely damaged property, and reports of looting. He gave a stern warning to the looters.

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