Idalia made landfall as a Category 3 storm along the coast of the Florida Big Bend near Keaton Beach at 7:45 a.m. ET, posing an immediate threat to lives and properties with its 125 mph winds and significant flooding. Prior to landfall, Idalia's track up the Gulf of Mexico inundated Florida's west coast with storm surge, including Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
By 5 a.m. hours before Idalia's landfall, the storm surge in Tampa Bay and Clearwater reached more than 3 feet and the water was still coming with another high tide around 11 a.m. High tides can amplify storm surge flooding impacts from tropical systems such as Hurricane Idalia.
Video shared by the Clearwater Police Department from cameras along Clearwater Beach showed the water rushing in from the Gulf, covering beach entrances and nearby streets.
FOX Weather Meteorologist Bob Van Dillen was in Clearwater Beach where the winds and high tide continued to push in storm surge on Wednesday.
Parts of the Beach Walk and South Gulfview Boulevard were also covered in water, while the Seminole Docks were submerged Wednesday morning.
According to St. Petersburg city officials, fire rescue crews rescued more than 75 people from flooding on Wednesday.
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Further north on the Gulf Coast, more than 10 feet of storm surge was engulfing the Big Bend of Florida where Idalia made landfall.