APALACHICOLA, Florida—Outer bands from Tropical Storm Hermine continue to dump large amounts of rain across the Tampa Bay area.
Meteorologist Daniel Noah of the National Weather Service in Tampa says the rain should start slowing by Friday afternoon.
But the rain caused flooding in many areas of Tampa, St. Petersburg and coastal regions in Pinellas and Pasco counties. Law enforcement authorities are warning people to be extremely cautious while driving due to flooded roads and possible downed trees and power lines.
Noah says that over the past 72 hours, the Tampa Bay area has seen sign significant rainfall. An area west of Oldsmar in Pinellas County recorded 22.36 inches of rain while in nearby Largo some 15.23 inches of rain has fallen. Other rain totals include 10.73 inches in Seminole, 9.71 inches in Longboat Key and 8.61 inches in Port Richey.
Georgia Power reports that more than 30,000 of its customers were without power shortly before dawn Friday as Hermine rolls across the southern section of the state.
Georgia Power’s online outage map showed that many of the outages were in and around the cities of Valdosta and Brunswick.
In the Valdosta area, Lowndes County spokeswoman Paige Dukes said crews were dealing with fallen trees and snapped power lines, but no injuries had been reported. She says winds exceeding 55 mph had been recorded in the county, with 4 to 5 inches of rainfall.
Hermine was moving north-northeast across south Georgia at 14 mph toward Savannah on the coast.
A couple suffered minor injuries during Hurricane Hermine when they drove into a downed tree along the coast of the Florida Panhandle.
Wakulla County Administrator Dustin Hinkel said Friday that the couple was driving during the storm and drove into a tree that had fallen into the road.
He said storm surge of 8 to 10 feet hit the county’s beaches, damaging docks and flooding coastal roads in the county that’s south of Tallahassee.
Authorities in Florida’s Pasco County say coastal flooding has forced at least 18 people from their homes in Green Key and Hudson Beach as rain from Hermine drenches the state.
Early Friday morning, Pasco County Fire Rescue and sheriff’s deputies used high-water vehicles to rescue people from rising water. They were taken to a nearby shelter.
The sheriff’s office said in a news release that storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico, combined with intermittent bands of heavy rain, pushed water into low-lying neighborhoods.
Many roads in the area north of Tampa, are also flooded.
Hermine was the first hurricane to hit Florida in more than a decade when it came ashore early Friday.
After pushing into Georgia, Hermine is expected to move into the Carolinas and up the East Coast with the potential for drenching rain and deadly flooding.