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Florida facing 'life-threatening' conditions as Hurricane Hermine approaches

Hermine will be the first hurricane to hit Florida since Wilma in 2005.

By
Amy R. Connolly and Doug G. Ware
This blend of visible and infrared light shows Tropical Storm Hermine off the Gulf coast of Florida late Thursday morning. Image via U.S. Navy NexSat
This blend of visible and infrared light shows Tropical Storm Hermine off the Gulf coast of Florida late Thursday morning. Image via U.S. Navy NexSat

MIAMI, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Hurricane Hermine is stirring up trouble on Florida's west coast and is expected to create "life-threatening" conditions for thousands of residents when it hits shore late Thursday, officials said.

Hermine was upgraded from a tropical storm to a category 1 hurricane earlier Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said. It is expected to make landfall in the Big Bend area of Florida after midnight, forecasters said.

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Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott urged residents to take precautions to stay safe as the storm rolled in.

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"So many people have moved to our state and we always have visitors," he said before adding, "This storm is life-threatening."

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The storm is expected to dump up to a foot of rain in some areas and bring wind gusts up to 75 mph and heavy flooding into Friday. Coastal flood warning were issued along Florida's panhandle, from the Suwannee River to Mexico Beach, including the Tallahassee area. Tropical force winds are expected to extend out 140 miles and up to 20 inches of rain is forecasted in some areas.

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The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning for a section of the Florida panhandle coast, including Tallahassee, Perry and Apalachicola.

Much of the coastal southeastern United States could see heavy rain in the coming days.

"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," The National Hurricane Center said.

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Once the storm hits land, it is expected to weaken and move north up along the East Coast.

"On Friday and Saturday, Hermine is expected to produce totals of 4 to 8 inches with local amounts of 10 inches possible across portions of eastern Georgia, South Carolina, and eastern North Carolina through Saturday. These rains may cause life-threatening flash flooding," the NHC said.

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Hermine will be the first hurricane to hit Florida since Wilma in 2005.

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