Tropical Storm Hermine batters Georgia, forecasters warn of ‘life-threatening floods’ along the East Coast

 Hermine slammed into Florida’s Gulf Coast early Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, the strongest storm to hit the state in more than a decade, bringing heavy rain, powerful winds and storm surges that forced some evacuations as the system began its crawl up the Atlantic Coast.

Hundreds of thousands of people lost power, while at least one death was blamed on Hermine, which was downgraded to a tropical storm shortly before 5 a.m., just a few hours after making landfall in Florida

Authorities warned Friday of powerful winds as the storm was expected to move through Georgia and into South Carolina and North Carolina on Friday. A tropical storm warning was issued from North Carolina to Delaware, while tropical storm watches were issued as far north as New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. 

“The combination of a storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” the National Hurricane Center said Friday.

The center also warned of “the possibility of life-threatening inundation” through Sunday morning around the North Carolina-Virginia border and in Bridgeport, Conn. In addition, it said heavy rains across the Southeast as well as along the coast from Georgia to Maryland could “cause life-threatening floods and flash floods.”

As the long holiday weekend got underway for many, authorities said there were widespread power outages and warned of dangers from winds and water alike. The National Hurricane Center said at 8 a.m. that Hermine was “weakening” but that winds were “increasing along the Southeast coast,” adding that “storm surge and flooding rains continue.”

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