Hermine lingering off shore, continuing unsafe storm surges

Hermine continues to twist hundreds of miles off shore in the Atlantic Ocean on this Labor Day and is expected to keep swimmers and surfers out of beach waters, because of its dangerous waves and rip currents on the last day of the long holiday weekend.

At 11am, Hermine's top sustained winds remained at 70 mph and its center -- 230 miles southeast of the eastern tip of Long Island -- started moving to the northwest at 6 mph.

FOX 29's Sue Serio says the storm is still located far offshore with a forecast taking it slightly westward, but not far enough to have major impact on our South Jersey and Delaware beaches. The main concerns are gusty winds, rough surf, tidal flooding and beach erosion. High tide is expected between 10am and noon.

Clouds extend as far west as I-95, but none of this should be enough to ruin your Labor Day.

"We're not looking at a landfall," said Dennis Feltgen of the National Hurricane Center on Sunday, adding Hermine is just sitting and pushing the water up along the coast making storm surge a great concern.

It's expected to stall over the water before weakening again.

Tropical storm-force winds are possible Monday in New Jersey. State officials say it appears that the impact of storm system Hermine will be less severe than originally feared, causing some businesses down the shore to suffer.

The system spun away from the East Coast on Sunday, removing the threat of heavy rain.

But Gov. Chris Christie warned that 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 doesn'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 that strong winds associated with the system could knock down trees and power lines, spurring outages.

Other governors announced emergency preparations. A tropical storm warning remains in effect only from New York's Long Island to Massachusetts. The National Hurricane Center lifted the tropical storm warnings for New Jersey and Delaware.

Atlantic County officials say Hermine being far enough offshore spares the region from significant impacts, but a coastal flood advisory is in effect for the coast through 5am on Tuesday with the potential for minor coastal flooding, rough surf, and dangerous rip currents.

Atlantic County emergency officials advise beach goers to continue to exercise caution and only enter water at guarded beaches as permitted.

Drivers are reminded not to drive through flood waters and to monitor the news for updates and any road closures caused by flooding.

FOX 29's Jennifer Joyce found dangerous conditions in North Wildwood for Labor Day. She pointed out no rain, but choppy waves, rip currents, beach erosion and more tidal flooding expected later Monday morning. High tide in North Wildwood is expected at about 10:30am with flooding taking about an hour longer to occur.

Sunday night, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell announced he lifted the Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County, saying "I'm thankful that Tropical Storm Hermine has remained off the coast and its impact on our state has been minimal."

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On the Virginia Beach boardwalk, the Atlantic Ocean roared with uncharacteristically large waves, drawing only a couple of surfers into the choppy white water. But hundreds, if not thousands of people, had descended onto the beach for the traditional last weekend of summer. Umbrellas and canopies dotted the sand under partly sunny skies.

Hermine failed to stop Barb and Don Willis of Buffalo, New York, from enjoying the trip they booked months ago. They even braved the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on Saturday as the wind whipped their car and the bay rose close to the bridge's bottom.

"That was so scary," Barb Willis said. "Oh my God. My hands were white knuckles, and the water was so high. It was horrible," she said.

The couple, both in their 60s, said they knew the storm would blow over, even as friends texted their concerns.

New York City planned to close its beaches Monday because of rip currents, and the ban could extend into Tuesday, depending on weather conditions, officials said.

Long Island authorities urged people to evacuate the summer getaway known as Fire Island to avoid any storm surge and coastal flooding. Emergency officials warned that anyone who stayed would not be able to leave after ferries shut down Sunday evening.

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.

It has caused two deaths, inflicted widespread property damage and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people from Florida to Virginia.

The Anclote River northwest of Tampa was forecast to go well into major flood stage Sunday afternoon. Emergency managers issued mandatory evacuations for some low-lying mobile home parks and apartment buildings.

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 1-foot sea-level rise in New York City meant 25 more square miles flooded during Superstorm Sandy, causing billions in additional 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."

On Saturday, high winds tipped over an 18-wheeler, killing its driver and shutting down the U.S. 64 bridge in North Carolina's Outer Banks.

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