2 Killed in Weather-Related Crashes Minutes Apart amid Hurricane Idalia, Florida Highway Patrol Says

Both men were killed in separate car crashes Wednesday morning, the Florida Highway Patrol said

Two men died on Wednesday morning as Hurricane Idalia struck Florida.

Florida Highway Patrol said both victims were killed in separate car crashes as the powerful storm brought torrential rain and strong wind gusts to Florida.

A 59-year-old Gainesville man was driving in "extremely rainy conditions" on State Road 20 around 6 a.m. when he struck a tree after veering into a ditch near Southeast 60th Terrace, FHP told ABC affiliate WCJR-TV, The Orlando Sentinel and Fox affiliate WOFL-TV.

Related: Hurricane Hilary Headed For Southwest with Residents Bracing For 'Catastrophic and Life-Threatening Flooding'

A 40-year-old man was killed about 15 minutes later on St. Joe Road in Pasco County when he drove his Ford Ranger "too fast for conditions," lost control and also struck a tree, the agency told WOFL-TV, NBC News and The Sentinel. 

Both were pronounced dead at the scene and have yet to be publicly identified.

The Florida Highway Patrol did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

<p>Joe Raedle/Getty</p> Makatla Ritchter (L) and her mother, Keiphra Line, wade through flood waters

Joe Raedle/Getty

Makatla Ritchter (L) and her mother, Keiphra Line, wade through flood waters

Idalia, currently a Category 1 hurricane, left a trial of destruction as it came ashore near Keaton Beach as a Category 3 storm with wind speeds upwards of 125 mph and a storm surge upwards of 16 ft.

It's the strongest storm that has made landfall in the Big Bend region in more than 125 years, according to CNN.

Related: 5.1-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Ojai as Southern California Experiences Hurricane Hilary Tropical Storm

In an update shortly after noon, Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the hurricane had “left the state of Florida” but that the state “is still being impacted” by the storm.

“This storm moved a little bit faster than some of the other ones have moved,” DeSantis added. “Some of these things will just dump water and they go so slow, this one moved a little bit faster. Which is, at least when you’re talking about the flooding, is a little bit better."

During the briefing, DeSantis said that the two weather-related traffic deaths still had to be reviewed. “There’s a process for confirmed fatalities," he said, per NBC News. "It just goes through law enforcement and medical examiners. That has not been done yet."

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 275,000 Florida residents are without power, according to website poweroutage.us.

<p>CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty</p> A flooded street is seen near the Steinhatchee marina


A flooded street is seen near the Steinhatchee marina

The National Hurricane Center said that the storm is expected to bring "damaging hurricane-force winds" as it continues to move towards southern Georgia and South Carolina this evening.

"Strong winds are also expected to spread northeastward across South Carolina and North Carolina through Thursday within the Tropical Storm Warning area," the NHC added.

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As far as rain, the center said "areas of flash, urban, and moderate river flooding, with considerable impacts, are expected from portions of North Florida through central Georgia and South Carolina, through eastern North Carolina into Thursday."

Notably, Idalia is impacting some of the same areas that faced the deadly wrath of Hurricane Ian last September.

<p>Joe Raedle/Getty </p> Flood waters inundate the downtown area in Tarpon Springs after Hurricane Idalia passed by offshore

Joe Raedle/Getty

Flood waters inundate the downtown area in Tarpon Springs after Hurricane Idalia passed by offshore

Related: Floridians Come Together to Save Manatees Stranded in Mud by Hurricane Irma

Mallie Critser, who previously told PEOPLE that Ian washed away her home in Fort Myers Beach, says she had six inches of water in her house as of Wednesday morning.

Crister started a food pantry after Ian, but it got destroyed by Idalia. She says she worries about those impacted by the latest devastating storm. "It physically hurts me to watch it," she says.

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