Hurricane Idalia’s charge across Florida on Wednesday prompted more than a dozen units of the National Park System to close in the face of forecasts calling for heavy rains, high winds, storm surges, and possibly tornadoes.
In Georgia, Andersonville National Historic Site, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Fort Frederica National Monument, Fort Pulaski National Monument, Jimmy Carter National Historical Park, and Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park all were closed Wednesday.
In neighboring South Carolina, Congaree National Park, Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park, and Reconstruction Era National Historical Park were closed.
In North Carolina, Cape Hatteras National Seashore was to close Thursday, as was Cape Lookout National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial. Moores Creek National Battlefield closed at midday Wednesday.
In Florida, Dry Tortugas National Park, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas national monuments, and DeSoto National Memorial were closed, while some beaches at Canaveral National Seashore were closed. Everglades National Park was open, but there could be high winds and some flooding, the park cautioned.
At Gulf Islands National Seashore, which touches both Florida and Mississippi, the Santa Rosa Area, including Opal Beach Area and Highway 399, and the Fort Pickens Area were closed until further notice due to storm surge from Hurricane Idalia creating standing water up to two feet deep in certain areas. Campground reservations for Fort Pickens were postponed or canceled through Thursday.
“On the forecast track, the center of Idalia will continue moving across southeastern Georgia through this evening, near the coast of South Carolina tonight, and just offshore the coast of southern North Carolina on Thursday,” read a report from the National Hurricane Center. “Idalia is forecast to weaken further, but it could still produce hurricane-force winds, especially in gusts, through this evening across portions of southeastern Georgia and southern South Carolina. Idalia is forecast to be a tropical storm while moving near the coasts of northeastern South Carolina and North Carolina tonight and on Thursday.”