Two killed in car crashes as Hurricane Idalia hits Florida

As Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida, two individuals tragically lost their lives in separate car accidents. The powerful storm brought torrential rain and strong wind gusts, creating hazardous conditions on the roads. The victims, a 59-year-old man from Gainesville and a 40-year-old man from Pasco County, both collided with trees due to the challenging weather conditions. The Florida Highway Patrol has not released the identities of the deceased.

The first fatality occurred around 6 a.m. when the 59-year-old man was driving on State Road 20 in Gainesville. The Florida Highway Patrol reported that he veered into a ditch near Southeast 60th Terrace after encountering extremely rainy conditions. Unable to regain control, his vehicle struck a tree. Approximately 15 minutes later, the second accident took place on St. Joe Road in Pasco County. The 40-year-old man was driving his Ford Ranger at a speed unsuitable for the weather conditions, causing him to lose control and collide with a tree.

Hurricane Idalia, currently classified as a Category 1 storm, made landfall near Keaton Beach with wind speeds exceeding 125 mph and a storm surge of up to 16 ft. This marks the strongest storm to hit the Big Bend region in over 125 years. Governor Ron DeSantis provided an update, stating that while the hurricane has left the state of Florida, its impact is still being felt. He noted that Idalia moved faster than previous storms, which could potentially mitigate flooding risks.

The Florida Highway Patrol is yet to confirm the fatalities, as the process involves review by law enforcement and medical examiners. Meanwhile, reports indicate that over 275,000 Florida residents are currently without power. The National Hurricane Center warns that Idalia is expected to bring damaging hurricane-force winds as it moves toward southern Georgia and South Carolina. Additionally, flash flooding and river flooding are anticipated in North Florida, central Georgia, South Carolina, and eastern North Carolina.

The full extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia is yet to be determined. The Florida Highway Patrol continues to investigate the car accidents that claimed two lives during the storm.