STORMS ARE CREEPY BUT NONE SO MUCH AS STORMS LIKE THIS ONE DROPPING IN ON Florida.
Tropical Storm Hermine to aim for Florida with flooding rain, severe storms
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist
Tropical Depression Nine has strengthened to Tropical Storm Hermine. Hermine will turn toward Florida with heavy rain, gusty winds and the risk of flooding into Friday.
This is a closeup live loop of Hermine. (NOAA/Satellite)
The center of the storm is located about 295 miles west-southwest of Tampa, Florida.
“We expect the storm to make a curve to the northeast and should make landfall north of Tampa and perhaps close to Apalachicola, in the Big Bend of Florida during Thursday evening,” according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
There may be a small window of opportunity for Hermine to strengthen into a hurricane before it makes landfall.
“Only if the storm remains weak and poorly organized will the track shift farther to the west along the Gulf coast,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey.
In advance of the storm, Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency to help 51 counties prepare. A mandatory evacuation notice has been issued for Franklin County, located along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico on the Florida Panhandle.
Several schools have announced closings on Thursday or Friday due to the storm.
The storm will unload a general 4-8 inches of rain with locally 12 inches possible. This rainfall is enough to cause urban and low-lying area flooding.
Near and just south of the center of the storm, onshore winds will push Gulf of Mexico water landward and are likely to cause coastal flooding. Major cities that can be affected by coastal flooding include Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida, even if the storm makes landfall 100 miles or more to the north.
In addition to the risk of flooding, locally severe thunderstorms will have the potential to bring damaging wind gusts. Near and shortly after the storm makes landfall, there will be a significant risk of waterspouts and tornadoes being spawned in central and northern Florida.
People in the central and northern part of the Florida Peninsula and the eastern part of the Florida Panhandle should be prepared for tropical storm to minimal hurricane conditions with power outages, flooded roads and airline disruptions.
Sea and surf conditions will become dangerous along the Florida west coast and the upper east coast into Thursday night.
After traversing the Florida Peninsula on Thursday night, the storm will emerge from northeastern Florida and southeastern Georgia on Friday morning. In this position, rough surf, gusty winds and heavy rains will lash coastal areas.
The storm will roughly parallel the Carolina coast on Friday afternoon and into Saturday morning.
Northeast may face rain and wind this weekend
How close the storm tracks to the coast will determine how much strength the system maintains. A track just offshore of the Carolinas could allow renewed strengthening. On the other hand, a track just inland through Saturday would cause the storm to weaken, but heavy rain may be unloaded over much of the Carolinas, perhaps spreading to Virginia and states farther to the north along the Atlantic Seaboard this weekend.
Beyond Saturday, a swift track out to sea would cause the northward progression of clouds, rain and wind over the Atlantic Seaboard to cease.
“This out-to-sea scenario would suggest that most days of the weekend are sunny, not only inland, but along the coast in the Northeast,” Abrams said.
“However, if the system turns northward after perhaps regaining strength over the Atlantic, tropical storm conditions with heavy rain and strong winds could swiftly move northward along the mid-Atlantic coast into New England for a time this weekend,” Abrams said.
Since the storm will have to pass over a significant amount of land before entering the Atlantic, it is too early to say with confidence about the outcome of weather conditions in the Northeast this weekend.
This not only includes people heading to the beaches such as Wildwood, New Jersey, Coney Island, New York, or Cape Cod, Massachusetts, but also outdoor and travel activities in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.
In any case, surf and seas will be rough along much of the East coast for all or part of the Labor Day weekend from the southern Atlantic coast to New England.