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Hermine crashes holiday weekend on US East Coast

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 02: A man makes a phone call at an intersection after an accident caused by non-working stoplights after Hurricane Hermine on September 2, 2016 In Tallahassee, Florida. Hermine made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane but has weakened back to a tropical storm.   Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images/AFP

TALLAHASSEE, FL – SEPTEMBER 02: A man makes a phone call at an intersection after an accident caused by non-working stoplights after Hurricane Hermine on September 2, 2016 In Tallahassee, Florida. Hermine made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane but has weakened back to a tropical storm. Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images/AFP

Tropical Storm Hermine churned Saturday off the US East Coast, threatening deadly flooding and spoiling beach plans for summer’s last-hurrah holiday weekend.

Hermine was moving across the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina in an east-northeasterly direction at near 21 miles (33 kilometers) per hour, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

Packing maximum sustained winds of around 60 miles per hour, the storm was expected to strengthen after the center moves over water.

“Hermine could be near hurricane intensity by Sunday,” the NHC said in a 1200 GMT update.

Hermine was a hurricane when it slammed into Florida’s Gulf of Mexico coast early Friday, causing street flooding and power outages, the southeast state’s first hurricane landfall since 2005.

It was downgraded later that day to a tropical storm as it moved north.

On Saturday, Hermine was barreling along the mid-Atlantic coast, raising tropical storm warnings as far north as Connecticut, north of New York.

It was expected to lose forward speed and then “meander” offshore of the Delaware, Maryland and Virginia coasts into Sunday, the center said.

Hermine was forecast to dump up to seven inches (nearly 18 centimeters) of rain over parts of Virginia and Maryland through Monday morning.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Friday under the potential threat of damaging high winds, heavy rainfall, and a dangerous storm surge and flooding.

“I urge Virginians to limit travel as the severe weather arrives and evacuate if recommended by officials,” he said.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency for coastal areas.

Hermine brought bad news for throngs of travelers hoping to enjoy beach time on the three-day Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of the US summer vacation season.

The US forecasters predicted a storm surge and rising tide will cause flooding, with a potential deadly water level in southern Virginia and northern Carolina.

Hermine will lash the mid-Atlantic coastal areas with ocean swells through the weekend, they said.

“These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions, and significant beach erosion.”

Hermine was the fourth Atlantic hurricane of 2016. The last hurricane to make landfall in the United States was Arthur in 2014 in North Carolina.



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