CARRABELLE, Florida — Tropical storm watches have been extended north to include all of New York City, Long Island, and the Connecticut coast as Hermine works her way up the Eastern Seaboard. New York City beaches will be closed on Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday morning, and possibly into Labor Day.
Hermine weakened to a tropical storm early Friday as it moved farther inland after making landfall in Florida’s Big Bend area as a hurricane.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 70 mph with additional weakening forecast. The storm still holds the potential to unleash heavy rains, win and flooding along its path, including the New York area.
The storm is centered about 20 miles west of Valdosta, Georgia, and is moving north-northeast near 14 mph.
Hermine was the first hurricane to hit Florida in more than a decade when it came ashore early Friday.
Projected storm surges of up to 12 feet menaced the coastline and expected rainfall up to 10 inches carried the danger of flooding through the storm’s path, including the state capital, Tallahassee, which hadn’t been hit by a hurricane since Kate in 1985.
After pushing into Georgia, Hermine is expected to move into the Carolinas and up the East Coast with the potential for drenching rain and deadly flooding.
The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook Thursday and warned people to expect severe weather through Wednesday of next week.
Winds will begin to increase Saturday as Hermine moves closer. Expect winds of between 30 and 35-mph and gusts over 40-mph.
For now, Hermine is expected to stall offshore near the tri-state area and linger for several days, causing rough surf and high seas.
Beachgoers on Long Island and in the five boroughs should keep an eye out for rip currents, the weather service says. Heavy rain and strong winds could cause issues for beachgoers over Labor Day weekend.