Tropical Storm Hermine was named earlier today over the Central Gulf of Mexico and it's taking aim at the Panhandle of Florida.
As of 5 pm EDT, the storm was located about 350 miles WSW of Tampa Florida and had maximum sustained winds of approximately 45 mph with a central pressure of 1004 mb.
The storm is moving towards the NNE at roughly 7 mph and looks to strengthen to near hurricane strength before making landfall somewhere along the Panhandle of Florida perhaps near Apalachicola by early Friday.
Both Tropical Storm Warnings and Hurricane Watches have been issued. Here's the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center...
WATCHES AND WARNINGS -------------------- CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY: The Hurricane Watch and Tropical Storm Warning have been extended westward along the Florida panhandle to Destin.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT: A Hurricane Watch is in effect for... * Anclote River to Destin A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for... * Anclote River to Destin A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for... * Marineland Florida to Altamaha Sound Georgia Interests along the United States east coast from Georgia through the Carolinas should monitor the progress of this system. For storm information specific to your area, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.
DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK ------------------------------ At 400 PM CDT (2100 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Hermine was located near latitude 25.5 North, longitude 87.4 West. Hermine is moving toward the north-northeast near 7 mph (11 km/h), and this motion with an increase in forward speed is expected to continue through Thursday. On the forecast track, the center will be near the coast in the warning area Thursday night. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 36 hours, and Hermine could be near hurricane strength by the time landfall occurs. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km) from the center, mainly to the east and southeast. The minimum central pressure reported by a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 1004 mb (29.65 inches).
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND ---------------------- WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area on Thursday afternoon. Hurricane conditions are possible over portions of the hurricane watch area beginning Thursday afternoon. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the tropical storm watch area by early Friday.
STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. There is a danger of life-threatening inundation within the next 36 hours along the Gulf coast of Florida from Aripeka to Indian Pass. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the Prototype National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water. Promptly follow any instructions, including evacuation orders, from local officials. The water could reach the following heights above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide... Destin to Indian Pass...1 to 3 feet Indian Pass to Chassahowitzka...4 to 6 feet Chassahowitzka to Aripeka...2 to 4 feet Aripeka to Bonita Beach...including Tampa Bay...1 to 3 feet The Prototype National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic is a depiction of areas that would qualify for inclusion under a storm surge watch or warning currently under development by the National Weather Service and planned for operational use in 2017. This prototype graphic is available at www.hurricanes.gov/graphics_at4.shtml?wsurge
RAINFALL: Hermine is expected to produce storm total rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches over portions of northwest Florida through Friday, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches possible. Rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches are expected across portions of the southeastern United States from southeast Georgia, central to eastern South Carolina and eastern North Carolina, with local amounts of 10 inches possible through Saturday. These rains may cause life-threatening flooding and flash flooding.
TORNADOES: Isolated tornadoes are possible late tonight into Thursday morning mainly across central Florida. A few tornadoes are possible Thursday afternoon into Thursday night over north Florida and southeast Georgia.
The potential area of UP TO 6 foot storm surge covers northern part of Apalachee Bay including coastal sections of Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor Counties.
If Hermine becomes a hurricane before making landfall, it will be the first to do so since Hurricane Author grazed the Outer Banks of North Carolina in July 2014.
The US hasn't been struck by a major hurricane since Wilma back in October 2005... a streak of more than 10 years.
Let's hope we keep that going.
WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org