Hermine Causes Flooding and Storm Surge in Florida

Hurricane Hermine made landfall near St Marks, on the gulf coast of Florida at 01:30 EDT on Friday 02 September. It was downgraded to a post-tropical storm on 03 September.

Hurricane Hermine, September 2016. Image: NASA
Hurricane Hermine, September 2016. Image: NASA

Hermine was the first hurricane to strike Florida in 11 years. Strong winds of 80mph (130 kmh) battered parts of Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia, downing power lines and trees. Two deaths have been reported as a result of the storm. In Ocala, Florida, a falling tree killed a homeless man sleeping in his tent. In North Carolina, a vehicle overturned on a bridge over the Alligator River, killing the driver.

The storm has since moved eastward and the centre is now situated in the Atlantic Ocean around about 320 miles (515 km) from the eastern tip of Long Island and moving north. The storm currently has maximum sustained wind speeds of 70 mph (110 km/h).

Flooding and Storm Surge in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia

Flooding was reported Taylor, Franklin and Pasco counties in Florida after heavy rain brought by Hermine. The hurricane also caused storm surge, particularly in Cedar Key, Florida, Aurora in North Carolina, and the Virginia Tidewater region.

Florida Governor Rick Scott toured some of the most-damaged areas of Pasco County on Sunday 04 September. During his visit, he said Pasco County suffered the worst flooding impact in the state from Hurricane Hermine.

Much of the flooding in Pasco County was caused by the overflowing Anclote River. Pasco County Emergency Services Director Kevin Guthrie issued a mandatory evacuation order in Elfers for residents of areas threatened by flooding from the river, which included around 750 homes.

The Anclote crested at 25.08 feet on Sunday, over 1 foot above major flood stage. The river is forecast to slowly recede out of major flood stage around 8:00 Monday.

Levels of the Anclote River at Elfers, Florida. Image: NOAA
Levels of the Anclote River at Elfers, Florida. Image: NOAA

The hurricane also caused storm surge and some flooding at Cedar Key in Florida.

Tidal levels at Cedar Key, Florida. Image; NOAA
Tidal levels at Cedar Key, Florida. Image: NOAA

 

Storm surge was also reported in Aurora, North Carolina, and the Virginia Tidewater region, according to The Weather Channel.

Storm damage in Apalachicola, Florida, 02 September 2016. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lexie Preston
Storm damage in Apalachicola, Florida, 02 September 2016. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lexie Preston

Rainfall

According to NWS in Tallahassee, Cross City in Florida recorded 8.76 inches (222 mm)of rain in 24 hours between 01 and 02 September. Tallahassee recorded 5.07 inches (129 mm).

Rainfall totals from Hurricane Hermine, 02 September. Image: NWS
Rainfall totals from Hurricane Hermine, 02 September. Image: NWS

Other rainfall totals for a 24 hour period between 02 and 03 September:

  • Augusta, Bush Field – 107 mm
  • Charleston Air Force Base – 49 mm
  • Savannah, Savannah International Airport, Georgia – 63 mm
  • Wilmington, North Carolina – 197 mm
  • Columbia, Columbia Metropolitan Airport, South Carolina – 96.3 mm

Norfolk, Virginia, recorded 56.3 mm in 24 hours between 03 and 04 September.

The Weather Channel reports that 22.36 inches (568 mm) of rain fell in 72 hours ending 02 September at Lake Tarpon Canal, Florida.

Hermine Part Two

According to forecasters from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the threat from Hermine is not yet over. NHC said earlier today (05 September) that “A gradual turn toward the north-northwest or northwest is expected to occur this afternoon and tonight.”

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the coast of Long Island from Fire Island Inlet to Port Jefferson Harbor, New Haven to Sagamore Beach, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

NHC warn that areas along the east coast could see strong winds and high surf. Heavy rainfall of 1 to 2 inches (25 to 50 mm) is expected across far southeastern Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and the offshore islands. NHC also warn that 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. Along the immediate coastline, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves.”

Storm surge of 1 to 2 feet is expected along the coast of Long Island from Fire Island Inlet to Port Jefferson Harbor.

Flood Summary

Last updated: September 11, 2016
Event
Hurricane Hermine, September 2016
Date
September 2 to September 6, 2016
Type
River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall
Hurricane Hermine made landfall near St Marks, on the gulf coast of Florida at 01:30 EDT on Friday 02 September. It was downgraded to a post-tropical storm on 03 September. Some flooding was reported Taylor, Franklin and Pasco counties in Florida. The hurricane also caused storm surge, particularly in Cedar Key, Florida, Aurora in North Carolina, and the Virginia Tidewater region.

Locations

Pasco County, Florida

Magnitude

River level
7.64 metres
Anclote river at Elfers, Florida - September 4 to September 4, 2016

Damages

Evacuated
2,000
Pasco County, Florida - September 3 to September 7, 2016