Hermine becomes a hurricane; storm surge expected in Florida

Florida Gov. Rick Scott updates reporters on the status of Hurricane Hermine during a briefing at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee on Thursday Sept. 1 2016

"We don't want to discount the damage that's going to happen, but I think from a more macro perspective in terms of tourism and stuff, I don't think it's going to have much longterm impact", Gold said.

Gov. Pat McCrory issued a State of Emergency Declaration for the 33 eastern counties to facilitate the movement of any resources that may be needed to respond to and recover from the storm. Emergency management officials warned of potential flooding, power failures and tornadoes spinning off the storm.

The University of South Carolina Beaufort and Technical College of the Lowcountry have canceled all classes for Friday due to approaching Tropical Storm Hermine, which could bring unsafe winds of more than 55 miles per hour to Beaufort County by Friday morning.

Then it's expected to slow down as it makes its way further north and east, off the coast of DE and New Jersey by Saturday night.

A mandatory evacuation notice has been issued for Franklin County, located along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico on the Florida Panhandle. Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin within the warning area along the Atlantic coast on Friday, and spread northward through the weekend. Have water, three days of water, three days of food. With the ground so wet, they anxious that falling trees would take out power lines.

By 2 a.m. on Saturday, Hermine will be in North Carolina.

A cold front was expected to stall across the Carolinas and northeast Georgia Thursday night, the weather service said. The traveling public's safety is a top priority as Georgia DOT readies for tropical storm weather conditions.

"We have not had a hurricane in years", Scott said, noting that 8,000 members of the Florida National Guard were prepared to be mobilized.

The governors of neighboring Georgia and North Carolina also declared emergencies, as the storm is expected to move up the coast after lashing Florida.

"As always, whether in Hawaii or on the East Coast in Florida", he said, "we encourage all of our personnel to stay tuned to local and stay plugged in with their chain of command for further updates".

Flooding is expected across a wide swath of the Big Bend area, which has a mostly marshy coastline.

Spyridon Aibejeris, 36, crouched in the mud, the seashore just a few feet away, helping some campers change flat tires on a trailer so it could be evacuated from the Keaton Beach campground that he and his family manage.

"We're keeping a close eye on the weather", said Meredith Hawke of Uptown Greenville, which is planning the season's first Freeboot Friday pregame party at 5 p.m. outside at Five Points Plaza. He sent his wife and daughter into the nearby town of Perry.

The Big Island and Maui County remain under a tropical storm warning, though the storm is weakening, with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour. "It could rip siding off my house". Officials have also closed many schools and government offices.

It would be the first hurricane to hit Florida since Wilma struck the Gulf Coast and swept across South Florida in 2005.

In the Pacific, a hurricane watch was issued for Hawaii and Maui counties as Hurricane Lester, now a Category 2 storm, approaches the state. In South Carolina, the low-lying coastal city of Charleston was handing out sandbags.

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