Tropical Storm Hermine May Reach Hurricane Strength at Landfall

Hurricane warnings were issued by the National Hurricane Center on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 for parts of Florida’s gulf coast and panhandle, with Tropical Storm Hermine expected to make landfall in those areas as early as Thursday night – and to reach hurricane strength when it does.

Evacuations of residents in the bend along Florida’s gulf coast began early on Thursday morning in anticipation of Hermine’s landfall there either late on Thursday or early on Friday. Mandatory evacuations were ordered by Florida Governor Rick Scott for residents of Dog Island, St. George Island, Alligator Point and Bald Point, with declarations of emergency in 51 of the state’s 67 counties. State government offices were ordered closed by noon on Thursday in preparation for the upcoming storm.

Residents in low-lying areas have already begun experiencing flooding, with sustained winds of 65-miles-per-hour and driving rain.

Governor Scott explained that the declaration of those 51 counties as emergency areas now would allow them easier access to disaster resources following the storm, as well as allowing the state to seek federal disaster assistance.

Bryan Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and of the National Hurricane Center warned that Florida would begin to experience “serious effects” from the storm beginning about 6 p.m. On Thursday.

Koon reminded residents that while emergency management will be available to provide aid after the storm, residents are responsible for themselves and their families during the storm. He advised everyone to procure three-day’s worth of emergency provisions, from food and water to medicines, batteries and flashlights. Koon cautioned:

“Just remember: We cannot rescue you in the middle of a storm. You are responsible. Charge your cellphone. You have no idea when you’re going to lose power. You could be out of power for days or weeks.”

Any holiday plans for the upcoming Labor Day weekend have likely been forgotten in the preparations Florida’s residents are taking to get through what could become the first hurricane to make landfall in the state since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, a storm that claimed five lives and caused $20 billion in damage.

Florida is not the only state that is in the currently-expected path of Hermine includes Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, with anticipated arrivals in those areas to be between early Saturday and early Sunday.

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