Tallahassee, Florida — Hurricane Hermine struck the Florida Panhandle then headed northeast towards Georgia and the Carolinas — wreaking havoc on everything in her path. Here are the 5 Fast Facts of what you need to know.
1Hurricane Hermine Hit Florida Early Friday Morning
Florida has been on the receiving end of Hurricane Hermine, which landed in the northwest area of the state early Friday morning.
The “Category 1 Hurricane” smashed into Florida’s Big Bend region at around 2:00am on Friday morning, marking the first hurricane to reach the state since 2005’s Hurricane Wilma. Various counties issued mandatory evacuations in some of the most vulnerable locations, while others are instructing residents to remain indoors.
The governor of Florida has warned of the dangers of Hermine, as strong winds and heavy rains could cause dangerous flooding in certain areas of the state.
Gov. Rick Scott told reporters,
“This is life-threatening. The storm surge, by itself, is life-threatening.”
2Hermine Has Moved To Other Areas and Has Been Downgraded to a Tropical Storm
Since arriving in the Florida Panhandle, Hurricane Hermine has since traveled towards southern Georgia as well as reaching both North and South Carolina. Although Hermine has now weakened and been downgraded to a tropical storm, winds of up to 60mph are expected along with widespread threats of flooding.
The National Hurricane Center has warned that as much as 10″ of rainfall could hit these states over the course of the weekend, and a state of emergency has been declared in many counties throughout the states.
The eye of the storm may pass over the Carolinas on Saturday before heading back out into the Atlantic. Storm warnings have since been issued throughout the east coast from Georgia up to Connecticut.
3At Least One Life Has Already Been Reported Lost
It is believed that the outer bands of the storm may have caused one death. John Mayes of Ocala, Florida, had been sleeping in a tent behind a gas station when Hermine hit the area. The homeless 56-year-old is thought to have been killed late on Thursday night after a falling tree hit him according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
Governor Scott has said that the medical examiner has yet to officially determine if it was the storm that had been the cause of Mayes’ death.
4Thousands of Residents Are Without Power
Estimations about the number of people without power have continued to increase, with as many as 250,000 having their power knocked out in Florida alone. Fears of further damage remain even with Hermine’s downgrading as the storm continues to rage on.
Governor Scott has warned that all residents should avoid traveling unless necessary, urging them to avoid hazards such as trees, power lines, signs, and traffic lights.
Tallahassee is believed to be one of the worst affected areas, with over 70,000 power outages being reported and many schools and government buildings have been closed for safety.
5Fears of Zika Virus Outbreaks Are Being Downplayed
As the storm will leave many pools of water in its wake, there have been increased concerns about outbreaks of the Zika virus, as mosquitoes carrying the disease thrive in bodies of water. Ben Beard of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allayed these fears in an interview with CNN,
“We associate severe rain events like tropical events and hurricanes with increases in nuisance mosquitoes, not disease-spreading (mosquitoes)”