Cedar Key Residents Urged to Evacuate as Hurricane Idalia’s Storm Surge Deemed ‘Not at All Survivable’

The Cedar Key, Florida, mayor issued a mandatory evacuation order to residents on Tuesday as the municipality braces for Hurricane Idalia’s expected 10 to 15-foot storm surge that is “not at all survivable,” according to officials.

Idalia strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane on Tuesday, with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph as it prepares to make landfall Wednesday in Florida’s Big Bend region.

Cedar Key Mayor Heath Davis’s evacuation order went into effect at 12:45 p.m. local time, and he urged residents to complete the evacuations by 4:00 p.m. Cedar Key is an island city off the northwest coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Residents and visitors of Cedar Key need to be off the island before the storm surge arrives. The bridges throughout the island cannot withstand the storm surge and will become impassable. Once the storm surge comes in, help may not be available to reach you,” the evacuation order read.

“This storm is worse than we’ve ever seen. My family has been here for many generations, we haven’t seen a storm this bad, ever,” Davis said Tuesday. Emergency services will stop Tuesday evening as winds pick up, CNN detailed.

An evacuation sign stands in Cedar Key, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. Idalia strengthened into a hurricane Tuesday and barreled toward Florida's Gulf Coast as authorities warned residents of vulnerable areas to pack up and leave to escape the twin threats of high winds and devastating flooding. (AP Photo/Daniel Kozin)

An evacuation sign stands in Cedar Key, Florida, on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Daniel Kozin)

National Hurricane Center Deputy Director Jamie Rhome warned Cedar Key residents the storm surge is “not at all survivable.”

Rhome said:

Preparing for these very difficult and damaging wind speeds. Now let’s switch over to the storm surge because storm surge will be the biggest impact in Florida. And you can see here if I zoom in here, we anticipate now the strongest and most impactful storm surge of 10 to 15 feet in the Florida Big Bend, including the small community of Cedar Key. So if you’re watching us from Cedar Key, you got to get out of there. Those conditions are not at all, not at all survivable. So you got to get out of there. … And we can have a surge even all the way down here in Tampa, four to six feet possible even in Tampa, even with the system passing well to the west.

Rhome also warned that Cedar Key could be cut off from the mainland due to the storm surge from Hurricane Idalia.

Despite these warnings, an estimated 100 out of the island’s 800 weekday residents are staying put, local outlets reported.

“I have a house on a high elevation sitting on top of a hill and I have a second floor and I have a boat tied up and ready to go,” said Michael Bobbitt, a resident who is not leaving the island. “When the streets become waterways, I’m going to get out and about to see who I can get to to help.”

Florida Gov. Ron Desantis (R) has activated more than 5,500 members of the National Guard to help with the storm’s impact. The governor declared states of emergency for a majority of Florida’s counties, and President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration as well.

Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.


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