Hermine upgraded to a Hurricane, flood watch still in effect

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A statallite imate of Hurricane Hermine from Sept. 1. (Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.)

SOUTHEASTERN, NORTH CAROLINA — The National Hurricane Center has upgraded Hermine from a tropical storm to a hurricane. Forecasters with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Wilmington say a tropical storm warning and flash flood watch remain in effect for southeastern North Carolina, which includes New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.

While Hermine has been upgraded to a hurricane, forecasters said Thursday they expect the storm to weaken, reducing back to tropical storm by the time it reaches the Cape Fear region. But several threats to the area remain as the path of Hermine moves through a large portion of southeastern North Carolina. The storm is expected to bring heavy rains, flooding and gusty winds.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency Thursday afternoon to facilitate the movement of any resources that may be needed to respond to and recover from the storm, according to a notice from the governor’s office.

According to a report released by the NWS Thursday afternoon, the storm has the potential to cause minor structural damage, down large limbs and trees, and create scattered power outages. There is also a slight risk for tornadoes Friday afternoon and night, but that threat is expected to diminish Saturday morning.

With the watch in effect, flooding is likely for the Cape Fear region. Forecasters predict the highest impact of flooding will likely occur Friday night. Potential impacts of flooding include prone/venerable locations near creeks and ditches. Roadways and parking lots may also become flooded as storm drains and retention ponds overflow.

Near the coastline, forecasters say elevated waters, wave run-up and beach erosion are likely, especially as the storm makes its closest approach with high tide occurring Friday evening. Steep seas will develop during Friday, as well.

In the water, conditions will be very dangerous at inlet entrances. Strong rip currents and rough surf conditions are expected through the week. An elevated rip current risk will likely persist into Saturday.

The threat of the incoming hurricane has caused several closing and cancellations in the Port City. For the latest update on closings, cancellations and postponed events in the Cape Fear area read our closings story.