The Latest: Expert says rising seas intensify storm’s effect

The Latest on Tropical Storm Hermine (all times local):

1 p.m.

A climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University says that the rise in sea levels due to climate change will add to the storm surge expected along the East Coast during Tropical Storm Hermine.

Michael Mann says that global warming has led to a rise in the sea level of anywhere between six to nearly 12 inches along the Eastern seaboard.

Mann said the one-foot rise that New York City has experienced over the past century caused an additional 25 square miles and several billions of dollars of damage with Superstorm Sandy.

Mann said he expects the rising sea levels also to add up to a foot to the storm surge expected from Hampton Roads region to the New Jersey shore from Tropical Storm Hermine.


12:30 p.m.

Sorry, beachgoers, the National Weather service says this isn’t a good weekend for you if you live anywhere from the Mid-Atlantic to the northeast.

Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami says: “This is a terrible weekend for the beach.” Blake warns residents that Hermine is a “storm to take seriously” with “life-threatening water levels along the coast.”

The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Hermine could bring 4 to 7 inches of rain to southeastern Virginia and the Atlantic coastal portion of Maryland as well as 1 to 4 inches of rain over southern Delaware, southern and eastern New Jersey and Long Island through Monday morning.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, the hurricane center said the tropical storm’s center was located just offshore of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Hermine had top sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) and was moving east-northeast at 15 mph (24 kph).


11:55 a.m.

Authorities say a small tornado spawned from Tropical Storm Hermine knocked over two trailers and injured four people on the North Carolina Outer Banks.

In a news release, Dare County officials said the campground in Hatteras Village was hit around 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Four people were taken to a local clinic with minor injuries.

National Weather Service meteorologist Rich Bandy says a tornado warning was issued for the area at the time, and the damage was likely caused by a twister.

But he said it could be Sunday before meteorologists can make it to the Outer Banks to confirm the tornado touchdown.

Hermine’s outer banks continue to lash the Outer Banks. Ferry service to the barrier island remains suspended until seas calm down


11:15 a.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says hundreds of thousands of people around the state are without electricity due to Hermine.

Scott gave a storm briefing at the state’s Emergency Operations Center on Saturday morning.

The first hurricane to hit Florida in more than a decade wiped away beachside buildings and toppled trees onto homes Friday. Hermine (her-MEEN) quickly weakened to a tropical storm and moved north.

In Tallahassee and Leon County — the state’s capital — 57 percent of homes are without electricity. More than 300,000 people around the state are without power.

Scott urged people to use caution when driving and avoid downed power lines.

He said restoring power is a top priority.

“I want everybody to have their power. I want them to be able to take a hot shower,” Scott said.


7:43 p.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has taken to the air to survey damage caused by Hurricane Hermine.

Scott used a Blackhawk helicopter on Friday to visit the towns of Cedar Key and Steinhatchee on the Gulf Coast. He saw the damage left from flooding and storm surge, including crumpled docks and washed-out homes and businesses.

The governor lamented that the restaurants and other places would not be able to take advantage of the Labor Day weekend.

Scott pledged that businesses would be eligible for help from the state. But it’s unclear whether Florida will get any federal disaster assistance as the state begins to clean up from the storm.


6:40 p.m.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency for the Eastern Shore and southern Maryland as tropical storm Hermine (her-MEEN) continues its way north.

Hogan signed the executive order Friday afternoon. It affects Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, Worcester, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties.

The governor said in a statement that he signed the order in anticipation of heavy rains, strong winds and flooding.

The National Weather Service has issued tropical storm warnings for St. Mary’s, Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties.

Maryland Emergency Management Agency Director Russ Strickland says residents should monitor trusted weather sources to stay updated. He says residents and visitors to the Eastern Shore should pay extra attention, because tropical storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly.


6:05 p.m.

Amtrak says it has cancelled or altered some service on the East Coast as Tropical Storm Hermine approaches.

The railroad announced Friday that it has cancelled Saturday’s scheduled Silver Star train from New York to Miami. It also stopped the Auto Train line that runs from Lorton, Virginia, to Sanford, Florida.

The Northeast Regional trains from Newport News to Boston will start and stop in Richmond. Another Northeast Regional train, from New York City to Norfolk, will also end its run in Richmond.

The Palmetto line between New York City and Savannah, Georgia, will only make it as far south as Washington, D.C.

On Sunday, the Northeast Regional that runs between Boston and Norfolk will also stop and start in Richmond.

Riders should check Amtrak’s website or call for up-to-date information.


3:15 p.m.

A South Carolina official says Hermine has spawned scattered reports of flooded roads, trees down and power outages but no major damage.

Emergency Management Division spokesman Derrec Becker likened it more to a bad summer storm than a hurricane. The storm hit Florida as a hurricane, but winds fell to tropical storm strength as it moved across the Southeast.

Gov. Nikki Haley did not declare a state of emergency.

The worst damage appears to be on the southern tip of the state in Beaufort County where there were flooded roads, numerous reports of trees down and where a wind gust of 52 mph was recorded.

In the Charleston area, only a handful of roads were closed because of flooding, not uncommon during summer thunderstorms.

Wind gusts up to 30 mph were reported in the Richland County area, and some areas received 4 inches of rain — mainly south and east of Columbia.


1:45 p.m.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency as Hermine barrels up the East Coast from Florida.

At news conference Friday afternoon, McAuliffe warned that the storm could bring “life-threatening” storm surges to the eastern part of the state, including heavily populated areas such as Virginia Beach.

McAuliffe said forecasters predict waves as high as 8 feet and storm surges up to 4 feet this weekend. McAuliffe added that 10 inches of rain could also pour down over the course of two days.

Virginia is deploying 270 members of the National Guard to prepare for flooding and power outages. Cities such as Norfolk and Virginia Beach are often plagued with flooding in low-lying areas and are increasingly vulnerable to sea-level rise.


12:45 p.m.

Georgia’s top emergency response official says Tropical Storm Hermine is having less of an impact on the state than he had expected.

Jim Butterworth, director of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, said in a telephone interview Friday that no deaths or major structural damage had been reported in 56 Georgia counties under an emergency declaration.

Hermine churned into south Georgia early Friday after making landfall in Florida as a hurricane. The storm was expected to pass west of Savannah and head into South Carolina later Friday.

Butterworth said a few injuries had been reported, largely related to storm cleanup efforts, but none appeared serious. He said property damage appears to be mostly from trees falling on homes or cars.


12:25 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center says anyone living near the Atlantic Coast from Georgia to Connecticut should pay attention to Tropical Storm Hermine as it moves north this Labor Day weekend.

Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said Friday that tropical storm warnings have been issued from Georgia to Delaware and tropical storm watches from New Jersey to the Connecticut-Rhode Island border.

Although the storm is over land Friday, he said it’s expected to re-emerge over the Atlantic on Saturday and regain strength over the warm water off North Carolina.

He said Hermine could become a post-tropical storm as it nears New Jersey, New York and Connecticut on Sunday, but he pointed out Sandy did the same in 2012 and still caused extensive damage.


11:20 a.m.

North Carolina emergency officials say they have helicopters, boats and high-clearance vehicles on standby in case of flooding or other tropical storm problems.

State emergency management director Michael Sprayberry said Friday morning that swift water rescue teams and National Guard and law enforcement officers with high-clearance vehicles are staged in the eastern part of the state. Helicopters are also ready to respond.

Gov. Pat McCrory has made an emergency declaration for 33 eastern counties as Tropical Storm Hermine approaches.

North Carolina officials say there could be high winds and 6-8 inches of rain in some areas along the coast.

McCrory says that the forecast for North Carolina has improved, but officials are still concerned about whether the storm could stall over an area and cause flooding.


10:10 a.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says a homeless man died in north Florida when a tree fell on him as winds from Hermine whipped across the state.

Speaking at a news conference, the governor said he was informed of the fatality Friday morning by Marion County Sheriff Emery Gainey.

The Ocala Star-Banner ( ) reports the man was apparently sleeping in a tent behind Diamond Oil near Ocala when the tree fell on him.

Capt. Chip Wildly, director of Marion County’s emergency management agency, says the man’s body was discovered around 7:35 a.m. Friday by people who were reporting to work. No further details were immediately available.

The governor says no other deaths or major injuries have been reported.


10:05 a.m.

Hermine has left thousands of electric customers in the Carolinas in the dark even before the center of the storm moves in.

Outage maps posted by utilities serving in North and South Carolina show that power is out to more than 13,000 customers. Most of those outages are in Beaufort County in southern South Carolina — the first area of the state to feel the full effects of the storm.

Forecasters say the center of the storm should move into South Carolina early Friday afternoon and continue northeast on a path generally along Interstate 95.


9:40 a.m.

The mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, which saw historic flooding less than a year ago, is urging residents there to “batten down the hatches, hunker down and stay put” as Hermine moves through South Carolina.

Mayor John Tecklenburg told reporters Friday that the city is blessed that it’s not dealing with a major hurricane but officials are taking Hermine seriously.

He says as Hermine approaches, the city is expecting serious winds and rainfall that can lead to flash flooding. He said the city distributed 3,000 sandbags Thursday.

It’s been almost a year since rainfall from what has been described as a 1,000-year-storm inundated South Carolina and caused widespread flooding in Charleston that prompted officials to block people from entering the downtown area.

As of midmorning on Friday, a city map of street closings showed only one street had been blocked by flooding from Hermine.


9 a.m.

New father Dustin Beach had more than Hermine on his mind as the storm crossed over Florida.

Last night, his wife Shawna gave birth to their baby girl in a Tallahassee hospital. But on Friday morning, the 31-year-old drove about an hour and a half to Keaton Beach to find out whether they’ll have a place to bring little Brighton once they’re released from the hospital.

He says his wife woke up early Friday and told him to “go home and check on the house.”

He was waiting Friday with other residents until police let them into the community. Authorities say they’re concerned about downed power lines.

Beach says their home is 21 feet off the ground, but he was concerned whether two nearby pine trees fell during the storm.

Hermine was the first hurricane to hit Florida in more than a decade when it came ashore early Friday as a Category 1 storm.


4:50 a.m.

Hermine has weakened to a tropical storm as it moves farther inland after making landfall in Florida’s Big Bend area as a hurricane.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 70 mph with additional weakening forecast.

The storm is centered about 20 miles west of Valdosta, Georgia, and is moving north-northeast near 14 mph.

Hermine was the first hurricane to hit Florida in more than a decade when it came ashore early Friday.

After pushing into Georgia, Hermine is expected to move into the Carolinas and up the East Coast with the potential for drenching rain and deadly flooding.


3:35 a.m.

Hurricane Hermine is moving inland over the eastern Florida Panhandle after making landfall in the state’s Big Bend area Friday morning.

As of 3 a.m. EDT, the storm’s center was about 25 miles east of Tallahassee and it was moving north-northeast near 14 mph.

It’s the first hurricane to directly strike the Sunshine State in more than a decade, roaring in from the northwest Gulf Coast with 80-mph winds and heavy rains.

Hermine is expected to drop back down to a tropical storm before pushing into Georgia, the Carolinas and up the East Coast with the potential for drenching rain and deadly flooding.


1:55 a.m.

Forecasters say Hurricane Hermine has made landfall over northwest Florida just east of St. Marks.

It’s the first hurricane to directly strike the Sunshine State in more than a decade, roaring in from the northwest Gulf Coast with 80-mph winds and heavy rains.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Hermine made landfall early Friday around 1:30 a.m. EDT.

Projected storm surges of up to 12 feet menaced the coastline and expected rainfall up to 10 inches carried the danger of flooding through the storm’s path, including the state capital, Tallahassee, which hadn’t been hit by a hurricane since Kate in 1985.

Hermine is expected to drop back down to a tropical storm before pushing into Georgia, the Carolinas and up the East Coast with the potential for drenching rain and deadly flooding.

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