Hurricane Idalia ripped through Florida as a Major Hurricane. Using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the National Hurricane Center defines a hurricane as “Major” if sustained winds are over 110 miles per hour, which is considered Category 3 and above on the scale.
The severe storm made landfall on Wednesday morning, August 30, 2023 in the Big Bend of Florida’s gulf coast, over Keaton Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, just before 8 a.m. ET after having briefly strengthened to Category 4.
Idalia moved across northern Florida toward Georgia and was downgraded to a tropical storm Wednesday afternoon. It continued up the Atlantic Coast on Wednesday night to South Carolina and North Carolina.
Ferocious winds blew out store windows, tore siding off buildings. Heavy rains partly flooded Interstate 275 in Tampa, and wind toppled power lines onto the northbound side of Interstate 75 just south of Valdosta, Georgia. As a large and powerful hurricane, it is expected that communities in Florida north of Tampa—in Pasco County, Hernando County, and Citrus County—up to areas south of Tallahassee have been impacted with windstorm damage and flooding.
THE STORM IS COMING
We have seen some massively destructive storms cross the State recently, such as Hurricane Irma (2017), Hurricane Michael (2018), Hurricane Ian (2022), and Hurricane Idalia (2023). It is not unusual for this type of activity. Even going back to the construction of the Key West railroad extension, Henry Flagler’s enterprise suffered terrible set-backs from major hurricanes in 1906, 1909, and 1910. Despite it all, the “Overseas Railroad” or “Eighth Wonder of the World”, as it has been called, linking Miami to Key West, was completed in 1912. The railroad line, as beautiful a voyage as it was vulnerable to the whims of tropical weather systems, was ultimately destroyed in the great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. You can read more about the Key West to Miami railroad here. https://www.amazon.com/Last-Train-Paradise-Spectacular-Railroad/dp/1400049474
PERIOD OF CALM
On September 1, 2016, Hurricane Hermine, which also made landfall along the Big Bend, was the first hurricane to strike the state of Florida since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Florida benefited from that relative period of calm for about a decade after the very active 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. The state property insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, accumulated a $7.5 billion surplus built up by Florida’s unprecedented nine major hurricane-free seasons. It would be reasonable to assume that other insurance companies in Florida profited greatly during that stretch as well, and remain steady in current times of need to fulfill those promises to be there for you to return your damaged property to its pre-loss condition. However, if you encounter an insurance company balking at their obligations to treat you fairly and provide the coverage warranted for your windstorm hurricane claim, please contact our Florida Hurricane and Storm Damage Insurance Claims Lawyers at Whittel & Melton online or call us at 866-608-5529.