Hurricane Hermine Slams Florida

Hurricane Hermine has slammed into Florida, with the Sunshine State braced for 80mph winds, 12ft storm surges and up to 20 inches of rain overnight.

The ‘life-threatening’ hurricane – Florida’s first for 11 years – made landfall shortly after 1.30am as it careered past St Marks, south east of Tallahassee.

Hermine hurtled ashore at the Big Bend, the mostly rural and lightly populated coastal area where the Florida peninsula meets the Panhandle.

The devastating weather system weakened to a tropical storm as it crossed into Georgia but is still blowing 70mph gusts and appears to be on a collision course with Valdosta as it heads north east.

The huge storm – which has knocked out power for more than 132,000 people – is then expected to push further into Georgia, the Carolinas and up the East Coast as a tropical storm, with the potential for heavy rain and flooding.

Some parts of eastern Florida could be hit with 20 inches of rain in the next 24 hours and dozens of towns in Hermine’s path have been evacuated.

Hurricane Hermine has slammed into Florida, with the Sunshine State braced for 80mph winds, 12ft storm surges and up to 20 inches of rain overnight

Hurricane Hermine has slammed into Florida, with the Sunshine State braced for 80mph winds, 12ft storm surges and up to 20 inches of rain overnight

The 'life-threatening' hurricane - Florida's first for 11 years - made landfall shortly after 1.30am as it careered past St Marks, south east of Tallahassee 

The ‘life-threatening’ hurricane – Florida’s first for 11 years – made landfall shortly after 1.30am as it careered past St Marks, south east of Tallahassee

The Category 1 storm – with winds of up to 80mph – hit just east of St Marks, south east of Tallahassee, at 1.30am as 12ft storm surges crashed into the shore

Hermine hurtled ashore at the Big Bend, the mostly rural and lightly populated coastal area where the Florida peninsula meets the Panhandle, and is heading north east 

Hermine hurtled ashore at the Big Bend, the mostly rural and lightly populated coastal area where the Florida peninsula meets the Panhandle, and is heading north east

The storm’s track will see it sweep across northern Florida before heading up the East Coast, bringing rain and high winds across the Labor Day weekend

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has warned that Hermine will cause ‘life-threatening’ conditions across the state

Hannah Coles, 9, takes a break from riding her bicycle through the ankle-deep floodwater as the wind whips her face in Gulfport, Florida

Hannah Coles, 9, takes a break from riding her bicycle through the ankle-deep floodwater as the wind whips her face in Gulfport, Florida

Chaplain Chris Fletcher and his cousin Destiny Peters, seven, rode out the storm in a search and rescue center doubling as a shelter in Hosford, Florida

Chaplain Chris Fletcher and his cousin Destiny Peters, seven, rode out the storm in a search and rescue center doubling as a shelter in Hosford, Florida

Flooding forced at least 18 people from their homes in Green Key and Hudson Beach, in Florida’s Pasco County, as rising water flooded buildings.

Roads are flooded across coastal areas from St Marks across to Tampa, police said.

Speaking before the hurricane struck, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said: ‘The most important thing we all must put in our minds is that this is life threatening.

‘We have not had a hurricane in years, people have moved here and we have visitors.’

‘You can rebuild a home, you can rebuild property, you cannot rebuild a life,’ he said, adding: ‘We are going to see a lot of flooding.’

A hurricane warning was in effect for the Florida panhandle from the Suwannee River to Mexico Beach as the strengthening storm was expected to sweep across northern parts of the state.

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