Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Hurricane Hermine sweeps into Florida's Big Bend

Hurricane Hermine made landfall at 1:30am Friday morning near St. Marks, Florida. Damage is widespread in the Big Bend area of The Sunshine State. (NBC News)
A strengthening Hurricane Hermine roared into the Big Bend area of north Florida overnight, making landfall near St. Marks at 1:30am. The storm, which has been extremely difficult to predict, has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, 50 miles northeast of Tallahassee. Hermine leaves behind major damage and flooding along Florida's Gulf Coast from Tampa to Tallahassee. Early estimates place the storm surge at 9 feet as Hermine moved inland. Overnight winds gusted in excess of 80 mph along the coast, with isolated tornadoes. Numerous trees and power lines are down, with nearly 200,000 residents without power. Many roads have been closed as a result of flooding. Authorities had to rescue people early Friday morning who had attempted to ride out the storm along the coast. Remarkably, Hermine was the first hurricane to hit Florida since Wilma in 2005.

A spectacular image of a strengthening Hurricane Hermine (upper right) just prior to landfall in Florida early Friday morning. (NOAA)
Hermine is the little storm that could; Expected to become a tropical storm, a week ago, the system defied forecasters and remained as a depression well into the Gulf of Mexico, before turning abruptly north and rapidly intensifying on Thursday. Hermine is expected to remain a strong tropical storm with heavy rain and winds up to 70mph across the southeast and into the Middle Atlantic states this weekend. Weather warnings stretch from southern New Jersey to Florida. The storm may impact eastern Canadian weather next week, but it is too soon to determine exactly how far north she will go. Hermine is forecast to stall off the east coast near New Jersey next week.

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