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article imageFlorida's Gulf coast braces for hit from Tropical Storm Hermine

By Karen Graham     Sep 1, 2016 in Environment
The Florida Gulf coast is bracing for a hard punch from Tropical Storm Hermine which forecasters say could make landfall as a hurricane. The path of the storm is expected to impact residents along the East Coast as far north as North Carolina.
According to the National Hurricane Center's 10:00 a.m. advisory on Thursday, a hurricane warning is in effect from 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 for the Atlantic coast to Surf City, North Carolina.
T.S. Hermine has maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) and is moving north-northeast at 14 mph. With some strengthening expected, the hurricane center says Hermine could become a Category 1 hurricane by Thursday night or Friday morning.
National Hurricane Center
On Thursday, the Tallahassee Democrat reported that in addition to evacuations being ordered for Franklin County residents living on St. George Island, Dog Island, Alligator Point and Bald Point, as well as other low-lying areas, Wakulla County has now issued evacuation orders for residents in low-lying coastal homes south of US 98 and 319.
The expected storm surge of five to seven feet would inundate low-lying areas that are only three to five feet above sea level. Residents along the Gulf coast in the affected areas were already out in force Thursday morning taking steps to protect their property.
ABC News is reporting that Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered state government offices in 51 counties to close at noon Thursday. The order includes the state capital, Tallahassee, home to thousands of state employees. Tallahassee is 35 miles from the coast and has not had a direct hit from a hurricane in close to 30 years.
In South Carolina, football games have been moved to Thursday night because Hermine is expected to bring heavy rains to the state on Friday. The storm is forecast to move into North Carolina by Saturday morning. Rainfall potential of from 2.0 to 10 inches is possible.
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