Locals in Bradenton braced themselves for the arrival of Hurricane Idalia on Tuesday as the powerful storm continued its advance towards Florida.
Footage shows pouring rain in deserted streets as strong winds shook trees in the city south of Tampa Bay. Sandbags could be seen outside businesses as locals prepared for the storm, which has been described as ‘unprecedented’ and ‘life-threatening’ by the US National Hurricane Center (NHC)
“We never know what’s going to happen, but we all prepare for the worst and try to protect our, you know, our property and our town, » said a Bradenton resident.
« It can be sunny and then all of a sudden it can be the worst. So you just have to prepare for what’s, what you are going to ‘adventure’, » she added.
Hurricane Idalia is expected to grow into a Category 3 storm before making landfall in Florida on Wednesday.
Officials in Florida have ordered evacuations across 28 counties as the state braces for Idalia. Governor Ron DeSantis has called on residents in low-lying areas to seek higher ground due to potentially life-threatening floods.
According to the NHC, Idalia’s centre is expected to hit Florida’s Big Bend region, between the cities of Tampa and Saint Petersburg. The area has not seen a major hurricane since the 1800s.
Idalia’s top wind speeds surpassed 95 mph (153 kph) on Tuesday. The storm is expected to bring a powerful surge of wind-driven seawater to vulnerable areas along the coast.