After a rapid eastward shift in the early hours of Aug. 30, Hurricane Idalia made landfall as a category 3 storm near Keaton Beach, far enough east to prevent Gulf County from experiencing any significant impacts.
The hurricane flooded streets, damaged homes, closed businesses and caused widespread power outages throughout the Big Bend and Northeast Florida regions.
There were instances of minor flooding recorded in the areas of Cape San Blas during and following the storm, largely due to storm surge and elevated rainfall totals. Following the storm, water from the Gulf of Mexico pooled near Cape San Blas Road just north of the Stump Hole, though the road and houses in the area did not sustain any catastrophic damage.
At noon on Wednesday, the Gulf County Board of County Commissioners lifted mandatory evacuation orders that had been put in place for visitors in the Indian Pass, Cape San Blas and Simmons Bayou areas and for recreational vehicles located anywhere in southern Gulf County.
Gulf District Schools Superintendent Jim Norton announced that local public schools, which hd closed Tuesday and Wednesday for the storm, would reopen on Thursday.
“After spending the morning assessing facilities, I am both thankful and humbled to report that our schools are in good shape and all Gulf County Schools and offices will reopen tomorrow (Thursday),” he said.
“Please keep our friends to the east of us, especially Taylor County, in your thoughts and prayers as they begin to process the devastating impacts of Hurricane Idalia. We also pray for the safety of all the frontline workers already responding to these areas. There will be many opportunities going forward to assist our friends in this difficult time, and I trust we will all find a way to reach out to these people just as others reached out to us after Hurricane Michael.”