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BREAKING: Hurricane Hermine nearing landfall with 80 mph winds (UPDATE #8)

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UPDATE #8 (11:10 p.m.)

With Hurricane Hermine nearing landfall, the system continues to boast maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.

There have been multiple tornado warnings in Taylor County as the rain bands have made their way onshore.

“On the forecast track, the center of Hermine should make landfall along the coast of Apalachee Bay during the next few hours, then move across the eastern Florida Panhandle into southeastern Georgia early Friday,” the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 p.m. advisory.

“The center should then move near or over eastern South Carolina Friday night and near or over eastern North Carolina on Saturday.

“Maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph (130 km/h) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is possible before landfall. Weakening will begin after the eye of Hermine crosses the coast.

“Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). The automated station at the Tyndall Tower south of Apalachicola recently reported sustained winds of 61 mph (98 km/h) and a wind gust of 79 mph (128 km/h) at an elevation of 115 ft (35m).”


 

UPDATE #7 (7:55 p.m.)

Forecasters have increased the estimated storm surge resulting from Hurricane Hermine, especially in the northern portion of the county, including Spring Warrior and Nutall Rise, where it could be as high as 10 feet.


 

UPDATE #6 (7:15 p.m.)

Taylor County Emergency Management has announced there will be curfew in place beginning at 9 p.m.

Residents who are planning to go the American Red Cross Shelter at Taylor County Elementary School are urged to do so as quickly as possible.

“Due to the landfall of Hurricane Hermine and safety and security concerns, a curfew has been established for all residents and visitors of Taylor County for between the hours of 9pm, Thursday, September 1 and 6am, Friday, September 2.  Individuals with legitimate travel due to work, etc. is acceptable,” Taylor County Emergency Management Director Steve Spradley said. ” You may contact Emergency Management 850-838-3575 to speak with a LEO for clarification.”


 

UPDATE #5 (4:30 p.m.)

Tropical Storm Hermine is now officially a hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 75 mph.

“Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds in Hermine have increased to near 75 mph,” the National Hurricane Center stated in a special advisory. “Based on these data, Hermine is now upgraded to a hurricane, the fourth hurricane of 2016 in the Atlantic basin.”

If Hermine makes landfall as a hurricane, it will be the first hurricane to strike Florida in more than a decade.


 

UPDATE #4 (3:15 p.m.)

The first rain bands from Tropical Storm Hermine have now reached Taylor County. According to the National Hurricane Center, the system has continued to strengthen, now boasting maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, and is expected to become a hurricane before making landfall late tonight or the early morning hours of Friday.

Tropical storm force sustained winds are expected to begin impacting Taylor County around 5 p.m. today (Thursday). There have already been reports of flooding around Steinhatchee public boat ramp during Thursday afternoon’s high tide. Taylor County Emergency Management Director Steve Spradley warned tonight’s 2 a.m. high tide, will be “more severe.”

Forecasters are calling for a four to six foot storm surge, adding that it could be as high as five to seven feet.

In addition to the surge and winds, forecasts were calling for nine to 12 inches of rain, while some isolated areas could receive as much as 15 to 20 inches.

The Taylor County Commission has issued a mandatory evacuation order for all county residents on the waterside of Keaton Beach Road, including Spring Warrior, Nutall Rise, Keaton Beach, Dekle Beach, Cedar Island, Dark Island and Steinhatchee.

Local officials are warning residents that emergency response agencies, including fire, EMS and law enforcement, will stop responding to calls once sustained winds reach 45 mph, and they urge everyone to heed the evacuation order while there is still time to safely leave the coast.

The Taylor County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has now been activated, staffed by county personnel and its partnering agencies as well as CERT volunteers. To reach the EOC, call 838-3575.


 

UPDATE #3 (9:15 a.m.)

Tropical Storm Hermine had strengthened to 65 mph sustained winds, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. advisory. The storm’s projected track has shifted eastward, bringing its expected landfall closer to Taylor County than previous forecasts.

Hermine was moving toward the north-northeast near 12 mph, and this motion with a slight increase in forward speed was expected during the next day or so. On the forecast track, the center of Hermine will be near the Florida coast in the warning area tonight (Thursday) or early Friday.


 

UPDATE #2 (11:42 p.m.)

As of 11 p.m. Wednesday, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a hurricane warning along the Florida gulf coast from the Suwannee River to Mexico Beach, including Taylor County. The Taylor County Commission has issued a mandatory evacuation order for all county residents on the waterside of Keaton Beach Road, including Spring Warrior, Nutall Rise, Keaton Beach, Dekle Beach, Cedar Island, Dark Island and Steinhatchee.

According to NWS forecasters, Tropical Storm Hermine has strengthened with 60 mph sustained winds. The system was moving toward the north-northeast near 10 mph and this motion, with an increase in forward speed, was expected to continue through Thursday. On the forecast track, the center is expected to be near the coast in the warning area Thursday night.

“Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 24 to 36 hours, and Hermine is expected to be a hurricane by the time landfall occurs,” forecasters said.

From the 11 p.m. advisory, which can be found in full here:

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
WIND:  Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast
within the warning area beginning Thursday night.  Winds are
expected to first reach tropical storm strength by Thursday
afternoon, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to
completion. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the tropical
storm watch area by 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 7 feet
Chassahowitzka to Aripeka...2 to 4 feet
Aripeka to Bonita Beach...including Tampa Bay...1 to 3 feet
Florida-Georgia line to Cape Fear...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:  A tornado or two is possible overnight near the central
Florida coast.  The tornado risk will increase through Thursday and
spread into north Florida and southeast Georgia.

 


 

UPDATE (4:22 p.m.)

Tropical Storm Hermine continues to track toward the Big Bend coastline.

“Little has changed with respect to the characteristics of the storm,” said County Administrator Dustin Hinkel, who took part in a webinar with state and federal officials Wednesday afternoon.

“NWS Tallahassee is calling this storm a significant flooding and storm surge event. An evacuation shelter will open at the Taylor County Elementary School at 12 noon tomorrow. Sandbags are available at the Public Works Department and the Steinhatchee fire station. Please report any damages to the Emergency Operations Center at 850-838-3575.”

Attached is the latest briefing from NWS regarding the storm.


 

With Tropical Depression 9 expected to make landfall somewhere along the Big Bend coast late Thursday, Sept. 1, the Taylor County Commission has issued a mandatory evacuation order for all county residents on  the waterside of Beach Road, including Spring Warrior, Nutall Rise, Keaton Beach, Dekle Beach, Cedar Island, Dark Island, and Steinhatchee.

The board also issued a local state of emergency, noting that a Red Cross shelter will open at 12 noon Thursday at Taylor County Elementary School.

County schools will be closed Thursday and Friday due to the threat of the storm, and all non-essential county offices, including the courthouse, will be closed as well.

According to National Weather Service forecasts, the storm, which is predicted to become Tropical Storm Hermine later today, is now expected to make landfall to Taylor County’s west, which puts the county in the path of the system’s strongest storms.

Local officials are expecting the system’s rainbands to begin impacting the county by 12 noon Thursday with tropical storm sustained winds (37 mph) to begin mid-afternoon. Forecasts are also calling for 9 to 12 inches of rain.

With landfall predicted for around midnight Thursday, local officials are worried about Friday’s 2 a.m. high tide, prompting them to recommend the mandatory evacuation. The forecast is calling for three to six feet of storm surge, which is inclusive of the tide. Local officials said this would result in one to two feet of water over land in many areas along the coast. In contrast, Tropical Storm Colin in June produced a storm surge that resulted in one foot of water over land.

The Taylor County Emergency Operations Center will be opened to full activation Thursday at 12 noon. Residents are asked call 838-3575 to reach the center.

Sandbags are now available from the county public works department.

Local officials are warning residents that emergency response agencies, including fire, EMS and law enforcement, will stop responding to calls once sustained winds reach 45 mph, and they urge everyone to heed the evacuation order while there is still time to safely leave the coast.

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