Hermine churns up New England as Newton strengthens off Mexico

Hermine stayed offshore Monday with near hurricane-force winds, bringing high surf and rip currents along parts of New England and the Mid-Atlantic coasts on the last day of the long Labor Day holiday. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Newton, off Mexico, strengthened into a hurricane.

Hermine, with winds at 70 mph, was about 200 miles off the eastern tip of Long Island, the National Hurricane Center said Monday afternoon.  The center of Hermine will meander slowly offshore of the New England coast through Tuesday.

"This is not what people wanted to see for the holiday weekend," AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said Monday.

"They wanted bright, sunny skies and nice beach weather. Well, the beach is horrible because of the waves, and this storm has spread a lot of high- and mid-level clouds over New Jersey right now and over Long Island," he said.

Tropical storm warnings remained Monday for parts of Long Island, New Haven, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. On the coast of Long Island, water could reach 1 to 2 feet above ground if the storm’s peak surge occurs at high tide.

Kottlowski described Hermine as a hybrid between a tropical system and a nor'easter whose biggest threats remain high winds and dangerous waves as tall as 15 feet. Barrier islands such as Block Island and Nantucket could see wind gusts up to 60 mph.

“People should still not underestimate it," he said. "And this storm is moving so slowly, it’s still going to cause the same thing it’s causing now tomorrow, and in some places Wednesday as well. The oceans around Cape Cod and so on are still going to be very rough.”

States along the East Coast had already made emergency preparations. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stressed that the storm could likely mangle holiday plans with flooding and other problems. He declared a state of emergency for New Jersey on Saturday in expectation of the storm.

Likewise, New York City had announced plans to close its beaches Monday and possibly Tuesday, as rip currents developed.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Newton, gaining strength off western Mexico on Monday, became a hurricane as it headed north toward the Baja California peninsula, the hurricane centerreported. Newton threatened to strike near the resorts of Los Cabos. Rain prompted about 100 people to evacuate and damaged homes in the Pacific coast state of Michoacan, the Associated Press reported.

Newton could reach the southern tip of Baja California by Tuesday morning. A hurricane warning was in effect for Cabo San Lucas and the nearby coastline.

Newton was expected to move into northwestern Mexico early Wednesday. The hurricane center said the storm was likely to continue north into Arizona as a tropical depression later this week. By Monday, it had maximum sustained winds of nearly 75 mph.

Hermine, which has killed two people, struck Florida's northern Gulf Coast on Friday as a Category 1 hurricane — the first hurricane to hit the Sunshine State in more than a decade. Thousands of homes and businesses lost power.

It weakened to a tropical storm as it moved through Georgia. Hermine's wind and rain pelted the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina. 

 


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