Thursday, September 1, 2016

Tropical Storm Hermine A Big Flood Threat To Florida, Southeast

Northwestern coastal Florida could face storm surge
flooding like this from Tropical Storm (or Hurricane) Hermine. 
After teasing forecasters for weeks, Tropical Storm Hermine blossomed yesterday in the Gulf of Mexico. She's strengthening as she heads towards northwestern Florida, where the storm will cause a big mess.

There's an excellent chance Hermine will be a hurricane by the time it hits the coast tonight.  As of 8 a.m. today, maximum sustained winds in Hermine had gone up to 65 mph.

Landfall is expected around midnight, or a little after. The weather will worsen all day today in northern Florida.

Basically, Hermine is causing every kind of tropical storm-type threat imaginable. The storm surge threat has gotten worse, with flooding from the ocean possible reaching four to seven feet above normal tide levels.

There's a LOT of low lying property along and near the northwestern Florida beaches, so you can imagine there will be a lot of damage.

People ought to get out of the way of this storm surge pretty darn quick, if they haven't already. That's because some storm surge flooding will probably start before Hermine's strong winds and heaviest rains arrive.

The rain is another problem. Some areas in northern Florida and southern Georgia could get a foot of it.  Which means people who are inland enough to escape the storm surge flooding from the ocean will still get inundated.

Yep, this will be yet ANOTHER flood disaster for the nation.

The wind will cause quite a bit of damage, too, since some coastal spots in northern Florida could see gusts to 85 mph. Power will be out for days.  That'll be a lovely lack of air conditioning in sultry early September Florida. Of course, for the people whose houses flood, no air conditioning is the least of their worries.

Hurricane warnings are up for northwestern Florida, including the cities of Tallahassee and Apalachicola. Tornadoes are also possible in much of Florida and parts of Georgia and South Carolina as Hermine approaches, then moves through.

It looks like Hermine will then move along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts, then offshore a bit while probably turning into a non-tropical storm.

But don't let that conversion to a non-hurricane type storm. There are signs it could stall off the mid-Atlantic coast, throwing battering waves and high tides against the shore starting Sunday and possibly continuing for days.

Expect lots of beach erosion and possibly some structural damage. And, unfortunately, maybe some deaths among those foolhardy enough to go into the water for a swim amid the extreme rip currents and waves all along the East Coast.

How bad things get depends upon where Hermine or ex-Hermine stalls, if it stalls. The closer to the coast it meanders, the worse things will be.

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