Yesterday morning, Tropical Storm Hermine was born in the southern Gulf of Mexico as what looked like a big blob of convection. She has been classified as a tropical system, with an organized surface circulation, since Sunday morning; however, it took her a while to get the name “Hermine”.
Early in her life she came to be known as “99L” and quickly blossomed into Twitter fame, she is now actually worthy of that fame. Hermine has been strengthening pretty quickly since her naming yesterday morning, and has blossomed into a 70 mph Tropical Storm, with plenty of time left to become a Hurricane this afternoon and evening.
Some of the models had been picking up on Hermine strengthening the way that she is a couple of days ago. She is currently sitting over very warm water over the Gulf of Mexico, which is one of the main factors that fuel the strengthening and organization of Tropical systems like Hermine.
Hermine is currently forecast to become a Category 1, 75 mph Hurricane before she makes landfall this evening. She has been intensifying today, so there is a chance that she may exceed that, but I don’t see it happening.
There are a few issues with Hermine right now. One is the overall size of the storm itself. Hermine is a very large storm, stretching from the south-central Gulf of Mexico all the way into southeastern portions of Georgia.
Larger storms, like Hermine, tend to create a larger overall storm surge. Hemine has had several days to sit and churn in the Gulf, and thus, her projected storm surge is concerning along the panhandle of Florida. It doesn’t help that tropical storm force winds (>40 mph) extend far from her center.
Another big issue that meteorologists are trying to solve with this are the affects of Hermine after she makes landfall. Her landfall will likely be bad enough, but she is forecast to interact with mid-latitude trough of low pressure. As Hermine does this, a strong ridge of high pressure is forecast to develop over the southeastern US and the central Atlantic, effectively blocking her movement just off the East coast.
— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) September 1, 2016
Now, what happens then is unknown. However, she is forecast to remain intense, even while tracking inland across Georgia and the Carolinas. She is forecast to bring very heavy rainfall, flash flooding and a damaging wind threat to those regions. Tropical storm warnings have been issued hundreds of miles inland to account for this, as well as Flash Flood Watches across the Carolinas. And there is a tornado threat with Hermine.
Hermine is a dangerous storm, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you have family or friends in the Panhandle of Florida that are living or vacationing along the Gulf Coast, please tell them to listen to advice given by authorities. We will update this as we see necessary throughout the day and into the evening to keep folks aware of what is occurring in Florida.
Update: At 1:55 PM, Hermine was upgraded to a Hurricane, with winds of 75 mph.