Florida braces for Hermine

2016-09-01 17:19
NASA-NOAA GOES East satellite photo shows Tropical Storm Hermine in the Gulf of Mexico. (HO, NASA-NOAA GOES Project , AFP)

NASA-NOAA GOES East satellite photo shows Tropical Storm Hermine in the Gulf of Mexico. (HO, NASA-NOAA GOES Project , AFP)

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Miami - Tropical Storm Hermine picked up speed on Thursday as it barrelled down on the US state of Florida, where it was expected to make landfall as a hurricane, forecasters said.

A hurricane warning was in effect for northern Florida, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said, warning of potential strong winds and storm surges that could cause flooding.

"Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast within the warning area beginning tonight," the National Hurricane Center said.

"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion."

With the tropical storm approaching, intensifying winds threaten to make outside preparations "difficult or dangerous", it added.

AP reported on Thursday afternoon that Charleston, where Hermine is expected to dump up to 25cm of rain, is making preparations for more flooding, less than a year after an historic "1 000-year storm".

Governor Rick Scott on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in 51 counties to free up resources to brace for the storm.

The centre of Hermine is expected to be near the Florida coast in the warning area by late on Thursday night or early Friday, forecasters said.

They warned of potentially "life-threatening inundation" along Florida's western coast on the Gulf of Mexico.

Nearly hurricane

Hermine picked up speed as expected and was moving north-northeast near 19km/h, according to the NHC report.

Its maximum sustained winds strengthened to 105km/h, nearing the minimum 120km/h of a category one hurricane.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, but this year's first hurricane, Alex, formed in January in an unusual weather event.

Earlier this month, the season's second hurricane, Earl, left more than 45 people dead in Mexico.

The 2015 season was less active than average, with 11 tropical storms in the Atlantic, of which four became hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

Read more on:    us  |  weather

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