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