The tropics have been active lately in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Hawaii has been very close to the path of a few hurricanes. Now, Florida is stealing the attention. That's because a Tropical Storm Hermine has been upgraded to a hurricane as of Thursday afternoon. It's a system that meteorologists have been monitoring for over a week. It struggled to gather itself and strengthen last week because it was stuck in an area of wind shear in the Atlantic Ocean. Wind shear essentially eats away at tropical systems and disallows them to organize. However, once Hermine moved into the warm, more favorable waters of the Gulf of Mexico, she quickly organized and received her name.
Now, she has winds of around 75 MPH and gusts over 90 MPH as she eyes the Big Bend of the Florida Panhandle. She will make landfall this evening, bringing isolated tornadoes, flooding rainfall, damaging wind gusts, storm surge, and deadly rip currents to locations from Panama City to north of Tampa Bay and points inland from there. It will weaken to tropical storm levels once it reaches Georgia, and weaken further once arriving in the Carolinas. However, she will still deliver drenching rains of 4-10" to cities such as Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, Cape Hatteras, Virginia Beach, and perhaps the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Here is the map showing the Weather Prediction Center's expected rainfall totals through Hermine's duration. Any areas in red, orange and yellow should expect to see very heavy rainfall and flooding. This will be the first time Florida takes a direct hit from a landfalling hurricane in over a decade. For the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin region, this system will stay hundreds of miles away and not impact our weather in any way.