ST. LOUIS – Hurricane Idalia made landfall at 6:45 a.m. Central time along the coast of the Florida Big Bend Near Keaton Beach. It strengthened to a category three hurricane around 2:00 a.m.

The system rapidly intensified Tuesday and overnight, reaching maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour early Wednesday morning, moving up to a category four storm and then fluctuating back down to a category three regardless of the strength it made landfall at.

Idalia turned roads into rivers in communities along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Tarpoon Springs, North of Clear Water, is also washed out.

Governor Ron DeSantis and FEMA officials told people in low-lying coastal areas to evacuate. There were a lot of traffic jams leading up to Idalia’s arrival as people heeded warnings to evacuate. Even people who normally ride these storms out.

The National Hurricane Center warns of catastrophic impacts from storm surges estimated to be between 10 and 15 feet in some areas. That’s a life-threatening storm surge.

Besides critical flooding, officials said that the storm is also expected to clog roads with toppled trees and downed power lines. Thousands of National Guard members and other first responders are at the ready with high-water vehicles in case rescues are required.

Dozens of members of Missouri Task Force 1 left for Pensacola ahead of the hurricane two days ago.

The Red Cross of Greater St. Louis is also on standby. Beth Elders is the executive director. She told FOX 2 that thousands of people are being housed in evacuation shelters in Florida in over a hundred shelters in areas that are safe zones.

“In working with our partners with the state of Florida, there’s about 5,000 people in over 110 evacuation shelters around the state of Florida,” Elders said. “That’s all around the potential impact area – making sure that these evacuation centers are out of inundation areas and are safe.”

Some Florida airports shut down ahead of the storm, including Tampa’s International Airport. Their airport closed at midnight on Tuesday.

If you have a flight booked to Florida, Georgia, or even the Carolinas in the coming days, check with your airline. You can also download ‘Flight Aware.’ That will also keep you updated on cancellations and delays that are happening in real time at Lambert.