Friday, 2 September 2016

Hurricane heading for Florida

"Life-Threatening" Hurricane Hermine To Hit Florida, Head For Tri-State

1 September, 2016

For the first time in over a decade a hurricane is expected to make landfall in Florida. Winds from strengthening Hurricane Hermine lashed at Florida's northern Gulf Coast, forcing residents to evacuate some coastal areas and stock up on provisions ahead of what the state's governor warned would be a lethal storm. Forecasters are also warning that Hermine poses a Labor Day weekend threat to states along the northern Atlantic Coast that are home to tens of millions of people.

As Reuters reportsHermine became the fourth hurricane of the 2016 season around midafternoon when its sustained winds reached 75 mph (120 kph). Located about 85 miles (135 km) south of Apalachicola, Florida at 5 p.m., it was expected to make landfall early on Friday.

h/t @Mark_Baden
Hermine could dump as much as 20 inches (51 cm) of rain in some parts of the state. Ocean storm surge could swell as high as 12 feet (3.6 meters). Isolated tornadoes were forecast.
The governors of Georgia and North Carolina on Thursday declared emergencies in affected regions. In South Carolina, the low-lying coastal city of Charleston was handing out sandbags.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 51 of Florida's 67 counties, and at least 20 counties closed schools. Mandatory evacuations were ordered in parts of five counties in northwestern Florida and voluntary evacuations were in place in at least three more counties.

"This is life threatening," Scott told reporters on Thursday afternoon. "You can rebuild a home. You can rebuild property. You cannot rebuild a life."
In coastal Franklin County, people on barrier islands and low-lying areas on the shore were being evacuated.
"Those on higher ground are stocking up and hunkering down," said Pamela Brownlee, the county's director of emergency management.
"If we get hit with a real storm head on, all the provisions you can make aren't going to matter out here," he said, ready to use a chainsaw to cut beams on covered slips if rising water pushed boats dangerously close to the roof. "It'd be pretty catastrophic."
On its current path, the storm also could dump as much as 10 inches (25 cm) of rain on coastal areas of Georgia, which was under a tropical storm watch, and the Carolinas. Forecasters warned of "life-threatening" floods and flash floods there.

Still, many people in Florida, whose population has swelled since the last hurricane struck, saw Hermine less as a threat than entertainment.
While the impact of Wilma in 2005 seems long-forgotten by many in Florida, the devastation of Sandy on the Tri-State area is fresh in many people's minds and residents in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut -- particularly those who live along the coastline -- are taking precautions against Hermine. As ABC7NY reports, the calm before the storm is the best time to prepare for the worst, officials say, and crews in Hempstead's Point Lookout spent the day tying down boats to docks and building sand dunes along the beach to protect from high winds and high tides. It's just a small part of what's being done in preparation for Hermine.

"We've got chainsaws being oiled and made sure they're operational, should we have major trees coming down to block streets," Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino said. "We have again vehicles being fueled up. We have all of the boats on various town marinas being secured. We are moving non-essential equipment to higher ground."
"We've met with the Red Cross, we've reviewed our sheltering plan," Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said. "We drive the coastal evacuation routes to review whether there's any construction, whether there's any debris in the storm drains, so we can alert the public if there's any hazard that was unexpected when we advised residents to utilize the coastal evacuation routes."
 Along the Jersey shore, some towns were beginning to discuss preparations for the days ahead, while others were taking a wait-and-see approach.
Officials in Long Branch held a meeting Thursday. "We're just on standby right now," emergency management coordinator and beach operations director Stanley Dziuba said. "We have our hardware vehicles prepared, ready to go. We have our shelters in place, and we're just going through our checklist, making sure everything is ready to go."
"Right now, we're not expecting anything really major," he said. "But things change. Every five, 10 minutes, it seems like we get different updates."
"We're expecting a lot of energy happening," assistant beach manager Susana Markson said. "I know they're talking about the cone of uncertainty coming. We're not rally sure what edge of the storm we're going to get, or anything. We're prepared for any possibility."
Seaside Heights emergency management officials are still discussing whether or not they'll erect temporary sand dunes, saying decisions like that will likely be made further into the weekend.

In New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has directed the State Office of Emergency Management to closely monitor the storm’s path and for state agencies to be prepared.

If the storm continues far enough up the coast, there is a possibility downstate New York may experience high rip currents, heavy rain and strong winds this Labor Day weekend,” Cuomo said. “I urge all New Yorkers, especially those in the downstate region, to be prepared, check local weather reports, and use NY Alert to stay updated on the storm’s progress throughout the weekend.”

Follow Hermine in real-time... (click image below)

Hermine Upgraded to a Hurricane – Latest from Gov. Rick Scott

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