After Battering Florida and Georgia, Hermine Threatens Mid-Atlantic
Updated at 8 p.m. ET
As residents of Florida and Georgia take stock of the damage done by Hurricane Hermine, authorities are warning that it has more in store for Eastern states as far north as Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The National Hurricane Center issued an advisory late Friday forecasting that the center of Hermine will move across the Carolinas through Saturday morning with maximum sustained winds near 50 mph before moving offshore by Saturday afternoon. Hermine has weakened to a tropical storm, but the advisory says the storm could regain hurricane strength by late Sunday when it reaches shore again in Virginia and Maryland.
The storm could bring 4 to 8 inches of rain to that region. "These rains may cause life-threatening floods and flash floods," according to the advisory.
"Anyone along the U.S. East Coast needs to be paying close attention this weekend," Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center, told the Associated Press.
About 325,000 Florida residents lost power as well as more than 107,000 in Georgia, according to officials cited by the AP.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he was ready to mobilize 6,000 National Guard for storm recovery. Scott had some additional bad news, according to the Washington Post. The amount of water left standing by Hermine is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.
Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET
Hurricane Hermine made landfall early Friday morning just east of St. Marks, Fla., as a Category 1 storm with 80 mph winds, but weakened to a tropical storm as it moved farther inland.
Scott said at least one person had died, killed when a tree fell on him, The Associated Press reported.
Schools near the Florida coast were closed so they could be used as staging areas for emergency responders, member station WFSU reported, and many coastal residents have were urged to evacuate their homes.
The AP quoted Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum as saying the storm downed trees and knocked out power to some 100,000 residents. Outages also were reported in Georgia and the Carolinas.
As the storm moves east, the Weather Underground's WunderBlog says rainfall could total 6 to 10 inches across broad swaths of the Southeast, with isolated areas getting as much as 15 inches.
When it swirled ashore in Florida, the storm ended a "drought": The state had gone nearly 11 years without a hurricane making landfall. Wilma hit Florida in 2005 as a Category 3 storm.
And just by reaching hurricane strength, Hermine broke a three-year streak without any hurricanes in the Gulf.
In a statement Thursday evening, Florida's governor urged residents to be alert, follow safety plans and evacuate if asked.
"It is still up to every Floridian to do their part to make sure they and their families are ready," the statement read. "For the first time in over a decade, Florida is facing a hurricane. Hurricane Hermine is going to be here in the next few hours and everyone must take this seriously. Please remember that while we can rebuild your home or your business, we cannot rebuild the loss of life."
The governors of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia all declared states of emergency ahead of Hermine.
In Georgia, the AP reported, some authorities were urging those who live in mobile homes to get to shelters ahead of the storm.
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