Hermine is now a hurricane and will make landfall in the Florida panhandle late Thursday night or early Friday morning. We are also still tracking Hurricane Gaston which is moving east toward the Azores Islands.
As of 4 p.m. Thursday Gaston is located at 38.3 north, 37.5 west; this is about 7500 miles west of the central Azores Islands. Gaston has winds of 80 mph and is moving to the east-northeast at 29 mph.
Gaston is expected to continue moving eastward over the next few days. Gaston is moving into an environment with more wind shear and cooler waters. So Gaston is forecasted to weaken over the next few days, but may still threaten the Azores Islands Friday.
Much closer to home we are still monitoring now Hurricane Hermine in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Hermine is gradually becoming better organized with an eye showing up on radar and satellite. It may continue to strengthen until it makes landfall.
Of course with it in the Gulf of Mexico it bears watching here in Southwest Louisiana, and normally a tropical system in that location would be bad news for our area. But this time the news is good for our area as it is expected to remain well to our east and should have no impact here in Southwest Louisiana.
Hermine is expected to make landfall somewhere near or just to the east of Apalachicola, Florida. The worst weather with Hermine is found on the eastern side so areas west of the center may see little impacts. This includes the popular beach areas of Destin and Fort Walton, although if you have travel plans that way it would be best to check the forecast before going.
Hermine will likely produce significant rainfall across north Florida and some tornadoes may develop as rain bands move ashore. Areas as far south as Fort Myers and Naples along the west coast of the peninsula have seen storm surge flooding and this will remain a concern well into Friday. Even once Hermine makes landfall southwesterly winds will keep water levels high along the west coast as well as the big bend region well into Friday and possibly into Saturday. Many areas along the coast in this region are low-lying and prone to flooding in this type of situation.
Finally we are monitoring an area of limited thunderstorms about 800 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands for possible development. This system is moving through an unfavorable environment now and conditions are unlikely to improve for a few days. But later this weekend the environment may become more conducive for development as it approaches the Lesser Antilles. Count in us here at KPLC to keep you posted on this and all things weather which may impact our area.
Chief Meteorologist Wade Hampton
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