Tropical Storm Hermine (pronounced her-MEEN), strengthening in the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico has much of Florida in its sights. Hurricane watches are posted from north of Tampa stretching all along the panhandle. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the “elbow” of Florida and as of Wednesday afternoon, a tropical storm watch is up for parts of the Georgia coast, mainly south of Savannah.
Here is the track as of Wednesday afternoon for this storm from the National Hurricane Center:
Keep in mind that tropical storms and hurricanes often spawn isolated tornadoes inland, either before, during or after landfall. One was already spotted in Brunswick, Georgia from one of the outer bands of Hermine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zcb8J-7xSs.
These kind of twisters often occur suddenly, so it is critical that you have a way to know if your exact location is in danger. If you’re in Florida, southern Georgia or South Carolina, get WeatherCall. This subscription service will instantly notify you with a call, text or email when your exact address falls within a tornado, severe storm or flood warning. Other systems warn for an entire county, WeatherCall pin-points the danger to your location.
Specifically, the north and east quadrant of Hermine’s track are favored regions for isolated, brief tornadoes. These are indicated in the area in yellow from the Storm Prediction Center. Note that includes southern Georgia:
Some computer models project that Hermine could become a hurricane prior to making a landfall sometime late Thursday evening or early Friday morning. The timing is uncertain because steering winds aloft are weak and as the storm strengthens in the Gulf, it could slow down,
Along with the immediate wind impacts along the coast, this storm could cause major flooding many miles away from the landfall in north and central Florida and southern Georgia. This storm illustrates why it is important to not focus solely on the landfall location.
Additionally, between 2 to 4 inches of rain has already fallen in the yellow-shaded area around Tampa and more is expected:
Just look at the astonishing rainfall projection for the next three days as the system moves up the east coast after the Florida landfall. Orange-shaded areas indicate over 4″ of rain:
Several flood watches are now in effect, again for north-central Florida and southern Georgia.
So what should people in the impacted areas do? First and foremost, listen to local media and follow the directions of your local emergency management officials. If they issue an evacuation order, do it. Know your exit routes and have a plan for what you and your family would do if conditions get out of hand quickly.
You should already have an emergency kit, if not, go to this link for a list of supplies. Have a way to know about changing conditions using either your phone or a portable TV. Remember, you will need to have a reliable way to keep anything electronic charged and most of all, dry.
As with any tropical system, it is also necessary to get frequent updates and know that this is a fluid situation. Forecasts can and will change. Prepare for any and all outcomes and put yourself in the best possible position to survive.
Stay tuned here for updates.