Around 1:30 a.m. on Friday, Hurricane Hermine hit Florida around the Big Bend area, becoming the first hurricane to affect the U.S. state in 11 years. It is now expected to move up the East Coast, through Georgia and the Carolinas and will bring along flooding rains.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has termed the hurricane “life threatening.”
Hermine has moved from being a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane and is the fourth to hit the Atlantic Basin during 2016.
Trees and power lines in Tallahassee were knocked down due to the storm, thus cutting off electric supply to more than 70,000 houses there itself and more along the coast. While the amount of destruction the storm may cause remains unclear so far, people are being instructed to stay home and follow directions from local authorities.
"It is a mess...we have high water in numerous places," Virgil Sandlin, the police chief in Cedar Key, Florida, told the Weather Channel. "I was here in 1985 for Hurricane Elena and I don't recall anything this bad."
The hurricane apparently is strengthening very fast and is expected to impact majority of the state. Several tornado warnings have been issues for communities across northern Florida and the National Hurricane Center extended a tropical storm watch to New Jersey.
Hermine has brought along with it concerns and fears of the Zika virus, since after it passes, the remaining water will become a breeding sites for mosquitoes. Florida has already confirmed 47 cases of local Zika transmission before the hurricane, and therefore, fear is on the rise. Due to strong winds, aerial spraying is not an option and the still waters will only increase the chances of the mosquito borne virus spreading.
Hopefully people will take as much precaution as they can to protect themselves from Zika and the hurricane itself by evacuating affected areas and moving into shelters till things subside.