Tropical Storm Hermine Intensifies – Updated
The National Hurricane Center reported that the storm was located about 235 miles west-southwest of Tampa at 8 a.m. Thursday. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 65 mph and was moving on a north-northeast track at 12 mph.
Hurricane center forecasters anticipate Hermine will gain hurricane strength before making landfall. If Hermine arrives as a hurricane, it will be the state’s first since Wilma in 2005, ending a decade-long streak.
Hermine is already generating big waves, with some buoys recording heights reaching nearly 20 feet, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.
The storm, which dumped 20 inches of rain on Cuba, is expected to dump five to ten inches on northwest Florida and southern Georgia Friday. Some areas could get as much as 20 inches, forecasters said.
On its present track, Tropical Storm Hermine is expected to cut across northern Florida before heading toward Georgia and South Carolina continuing on a northeasterly direction that could bring it in contact with Virginia and Maryland late in the weekend.
Update – 2:00pm EST
Hermine is centered about 135 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida. It is expected to make landfall around midnight Thursday. A hurricane warning is in effect for Florida’s Big Bend from the Suwannee River to Mexico Beach. And on the East Coast, a tropical storm warning was issued for an area that extended from Marineland, Florida, northward to the South Santee River in South Carolina.
Whether Hermine lands as a tropical storm or a hurricane, it’s expected to pack wind gusts topping 80mph and up to 15 inches of rain in parts of the state.
Hurricane Hermine made landfall as a Category 1 storm hit just east of St. Marks, Florida around 1:30 a.m. EDT with winds around 80 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. Hermine later weakened to a tropical storm as it moved farther inland.
Hermine is weakening as it moves across Georgia, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. It is centered about 35 miles northeast of Valdosta, Georgia, and is moving north-northeast near 14 mph.