On Thursday, Tropical Storm Hermine has been upgraded to a hurricane with winds blowing as fast as 75 mph, according to NBC News. Florida Governor Rick Scott announced at a press conference that the storm is presenting “life-threatening” conditions and has urged residents to prepare themselves for even harsher weather.
It’s been 11 years since Hurricane Wilma made landfall in Florida, and as of Thursday afternoon, Hermine is situated 135 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida. Reports show the storm will reach landfall by Thursday night, and Gov. Scott is taking precautions for the incoming conditions by putting 51 Florida counties under a state of emergency and closing government offices, including capital Tallahassee, at noon on Thursday. A number of colleges in the area have taken a cue from the governor and closed their campuses. Scott said residents have time to get prepared for the storm, but made it clear that this could be a devastating hurricane:
“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. Fortunately we haven’t had a hurricane in a long time, so people often get complacent. So just think about this: follow the news, have a battery powered radio in case you lose your power so you can follow.”
Areas on the western side of the state could see between 10 and 15 inches of rain, while the eastern side could see some flash-flooding. A report from the U.S. Census Bureau, as reported by USA Today, found the state has seen its population grow by 2 million people since Hurricane Wilma hit in 2005, which means a number of residents have not faced these types of conditions before.