As Hurricane Hermine makes its way to the Gulf Coast this Labor Day weekend, residents from Florida through South Carolina are preparing for the storm, which is expected to make landfall Thursday evening. Meteorologists say that Hermine will be the first hurricane to hit Florida since 2005, but after it winds its way through northern Florida, it will likely weaken back to a tropical storm. However, several states will be affected by Hurricane Hermine.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for much of the state, issuing an executive order that all state offices in the 51 counties be closed by noon on Thursday. Residents in low-lying areas throughout Florida were also asked to evacuate. The hurricane, which Gov. Scott referred to as "life-threatening," was originally called a tropical storm, but winds near 75 mph were just enough to elevate it to hurricane classification. The National Weather Service released a report saying that Hermine was expected to produce rainfall ranging from 5 to 10 inches throughout northwest Florida and southern Georgia through Friday.
Here's a breakdown of how Hurricane Hermine will affect the different regions in the South that it is expected to hit:
Hurricane Hermine is expected to hit Florida on Thursday in the late evening as a Category 1 hurricane. When the storm hits northwest Florida in the panhandle region, it is expected to produce 5 to 10 inches of rain, with isolated amounts producing up to 20 inches in certain areas. Business and homes along the coast are at risk of sustaining damage, and rising tides and storm surge could cause severe flooding. In some areas, flooding has already started to occur. Mandatory evacuations are in effect for people who live in low-lying areas in the northwest area.
Parts of southwest Georgia will also be hit by Hurricane Hermine. In certain regions, forecasts predict that, like Florida, the area can also expect to receive 5 to 10 inches of rainfall, with certain areas also receiving up to 20 inches. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 56 counties, which includes the south, central, and coastal areas of the state.
Tropical storm watches have been issued for this region, which includes the famous Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and Wrightsville Beach and Surf City in North Carolina. That area can expect to receive 4 to 8 inches of rain.
Even if Hermine does weaken back into a tropical storm, most of the named areas are still at risk for receiving heavy rains and wind, flooding, power failure, and in some areas, tornadoes.