Hermine stronger, but less likely to turn to coast; Gov. Markell lifts limited state of emergency

- Governor Markell of Delaware announced Sunday evening that he has lifted the limited state of emergency that had been put in place Saturday as Hermine approached the Mid-Atlantic region.

“I'm thankful that Tropical Storm Hermine has remained off the coast and its impact on our state has been minimal," Governor Markell said.  "I want to thank the first responders, emergency management staff, Delaware National Guard, DelDOT crews and others for working to ensure the safety of residents and visitors during this storm event. 

"We remain prepared to take any necessary action to protect public safety and property as Hermine remains in our region over the next few days.  I wish all Delawareans and visitors to our state a safe and enjoyable Labor Day holiday.”

Many people around the region woke up to better conditions than they expected, despite powerful storm Hermine off the shore.

There is good news in the new 11am Sunday advisory on Hermine. The latest forecast is starting to limit the storm’s northwest turn back to our coasts.

On this current track, the shore will still see impacts of beach erosion, rough surf, tidal flooding. Still, the worst is expected Monday morning and Monday night, with possible tropical storm force winds for a time Monday. But, that’s not as extreme as earlier tracks predicted.

Rain chances are getting less for the shore with this latest track. That means water rise would come from each successive tide cycle with a piling up of the water, rather than water falling from the sky.

If this track continues shifting east, then the forecast will continue to improve. The FOX 29 Weather Authority will be looking at what the afternoon models show and bring them to you here on www.FOX29.com as they come in.

At 5pm Sunday, Hermine's top sustained winds were steady at 70 miles an hour as it moved east-northeast at 6 miles an hour. The storm was centered about 325 miles east-southeast of Ocean City, Maryland.

Tropical storm warnings remain in effect for all of our shore areas. That’s from Virginia, all the way up to New England, including Delaware Bay.

FOX 29 Weather Authority Meteorologist Scott Williams already predicted a great Sunday inland, giving it a 9 out of 10. He suggested going out an enjoying Made in America and other events.

That’s because Hermine turned away from our coast. Still, it may make a slight turn back, less than forecast earlier, before tracking out to sea. During that brief northwest turn, Hermine could bring tropical storm-force winds back to the shore.

Any Sunday threat will be along the shore with high wind and surf, and major rip currents. Do not go into the water. There could also be a few showers overnight into Monday.

But looking ahead, rain will not be the main concern. It will be the possible return of tropical storm force winds (sustained at more than 39 miles an hour), and coastal flooding at the shore and in the back bays.

As for wind gusts:

Down the Shore
Sunday: gusts 30-55 mph+
Monday: gusts 30-55 mph+

Philadelphia Area
Sunday: gusts 20-30 mph
Monday: gusts 15-20 mph

That issue of flooding will most likely happen during high tide. The major high tide will be Monday from 10am until noon, so you may want to stay away from flood-prone areas.

These will be the other high tides,until then:

Atlantic City, NJ:
Sunday 10:07am: minor flooding
Sunday 10:17pm: moderate flooding
Monday 10:45am: major flooding

Cape May, NJ:
Sunday 10:41am: minor flooding
Sunday 10:51pm: moderate flooding
Monday 11:19am: major flooding

Rehoboth Beach, DE:
Sunday 10:07am:  minor flooding
Sunday 10:17pm: moderate flooding
Monday 10:45am: major flooding

As for rain, Scott predicts more than an inch possible along the shore, light to trace amounts around Philadelphia and the I-95 corridor, and no rain in the Lehigh Valley and Poconos.

Hermine is now post-tropical and will remain that way.

CLICK HERE for the FOX 29 Weather Authority page with the latest forecast and current conditions constantly updated.

CLICK HERE for the Weather Alerts page with watches, warnings and advisories by county.

CLICK HERE for the My Fox Hurricane page, which has updates on Hermine and all areas of the tropics.

Its expected timing couldn't be worse for coastal communities hoping for revenue from Labor Day events.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency for three shore counties -- Cape May, Atlantic and Ocean -- that are expected to get the brunt of heavy rain, wind and flooding. (Click here to read it from Saturday.)

Saturday, it appeared the impact will be less severe than originally feared, but Gov. Chris Christie warned minor to moderate flooding was still likely in coastal areas. He also said the storm will cause major beach erosion, strong storm surges and dangerous rip currents.

Christie said he didn’t expect any evacuations will be needed, assuming the storm continues to move eastward, but he urged people to monitor the storm and not be lulled into a false sense of security.

Officials also noted strong winds associated with the system could knock down trees and power lines, spurring outages.

PSE&G had arranged for outside utility crews and contractors to be in New Jersey ready to help with power restoration as needed. The company says it expects to have 1,150 line and tree personnel, including its own employees, available to respond to any outages. The contingent includes 334 linemen from Hydro Quebec and area contractors, as well as 133 additional tree contractors to help remove tree limbs from power lines that could come down as a result of the strong winds.
 
Beach concerts in Atlantic City over the Labor Day weekend have been canceled, according to a statement released by the mayor.
 
Fox 29’s Jennifer Joyce reported a dampened holiday weekend for some down the shore, and lots of folks in wait and see mode.

It was quite different from Saturday, with people preparing for bad weather.

Sunday morning, she found many surprised to see a bright, sunny, comfortable day, with some surfers wanting more challenging waves.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell issued a limited state of emergency for Sussex County.
 
Sails in Lewes, Delaware, aboard a replica of the colonial ship Kalmar Nyckel have been canceled for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Rehoboth Beach closed the beach to foot traffic and prohibited swimming.

Jim Derrick, a co-owner of family businesses, reported traffic lighter than usual.

Derrick said the main road was "a little stop and go" traffic when "this weekend would normally be a parking lot."

Derrick's family owns businesses including a mini golf course, sea shell store, indoor bounce house and ice cream shop.

He said that when forecasters predict rain it "majorly affects the number of people" that come to the beach. He called the wet forecast: "definitely disappointing."

Still, his indoor bounce house was packed Saturday, and the rain stopped long enough for him to open the mini golf course.

Hermine made landfall as a hurricane in Florida's Big Bend area early Friday. It was the first hurricane to hit the state in more than a decade.

It caused two deaths, damaged properties and left hundreds of thousands without electricity all the way up to Virginia. It spawned a tornado in North Carolina and closed beaches as far north as New York.

"This is not a beach weekend for anyone in the Mid-Atlantic to the northeast," said Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Hermine rose up over the Gulf of Mexico and hit Florida on Friday as a Category 1 hurricane before weakening to a tropical storm across Georgia.

By 5am Sunday, Hermine's top sustained winds remained at 65 mph as it moved east-northeast at 12 mph. The storm, expected to turn northward on Sunday, was centered about 255 miles southeast of Ocean City, Maryland.

Forecasters expect Hermine to regain hurricane force on Sunday as it travels up the coast before weakening again to a tropical storm by Tuesday.

Governors all along the coast announced emergency preparations. Tropical storm warnings were in effect as far north as Connecticut.

And since sea levels have risen up to a foot due to global warming, the storm surges pushed by Hermine could be even more damaging, climate scientists say.

Michael Mann at Pennsylvania State University noted that this century's one-foot sea-level rise in New York City meant 25 more square miles flooded during Superstorm Sandy, causing billions more in damage.

"We are already experiencing more and more flooding due to climate change in every storm," said Michael Oppenheimer, a geosciences professor at Princeton University. "And it's only the beginning."

The winds and rain were so strong Saturday in North Carolina that all bridges to the Outer Banks were closed for several hours following a deadly accident over the intracoastal waterway.

Tyrrell County Sheriff Darryl Liverman told the Virginian-Pilot that high winds tipped over an 18-wheeler, killing its driver and shutting down the U.S. 64 bridge.

And on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks, a small tornado spawned by Hermine knocked over two trailers and injured four people, authorities said.

Earlier in Florida, a homeless man died from a falling tree.

In Savannah, Georgia, Bacon Fest was canceled Friday and Saturday's Craft Brew Fest was moved indoors.

In Virginia Beach, the storm forced Bruce Springsteen to move a Saturday night concert to Monday. Swimmers were ordered out of the surf in New York and New Jersey. And Amtrak cancelled or altered some service as the storm approached.

Joyce Harper and her husband, of Berkeley Township, N.J., canceled Monday's family barbecue and took their three young daughters to the Seaside Heights boardwalk to "burn off some energy" ahead of the storm.

"If it's as bad as they expect, then we're all going to be indoors for a couple days. I love my kids, but two days is a long time to be together in close spaces," she said.

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