Tropical Storm Hermine forms in Gulf of Mexico

Storm poised to threaten Florida

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Tropical Storm Hermine formed Wednesday in the Gulf of Mexico as it continues to threaten Florida's big bend.

The storm was located about 350 miles west-southwest of Tampa and moving north at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.

"It's forecast to eventually make a turn toward the northeast and have its sights set on the northwest Gulf coast of Florida," Local 10 News chief certified meteorologist Betty Davis said.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami forecasts the storm to make landfall sometime between Thursday and early Friday, cutting across Florida and into the Atlantic Ocean.

Hurricane watches and warnings are in effect for Florida's Gulf coast, while a tropical storm watch is in effect for northeast Florida's Atlantic coast.

Anywhere from 5 to 10 inches of rain is expected in the area.

Residents in the small town of Cedar Key are preparing for possible flooding brought by the storm.

Some have already lined up free sandbags passed out by the city in and outside of their homes and businesses.

They told Local 10 News reporter Andrew Perez that they have stacked their furniture, trying to get it to a higher elevation to prevent water damage.

"Those doors are very, very old. It leaks when it rains," one woman said.

Cedar Key police Chief Virgil Sandlin said the biggest concern for the city will be storm surge.

There are just 900 residents in the city, and only one way to get in and out.

Officials are telling people at this time that it's up to them whether they want to evacuate.

"At this point it's strictly a voluntary evacuation if you want to leave," Sandlin said. "I'll be positioning officers out on the bridge out there and we will restrict entry into Cedar Key."

The small town is 60 miles southwest of Gainesville and is usually a popular vacation spot in the summer.

To stay up to date on the all the latest storm news, download the Max Tracker app for iOS and ANDROID and download a copy of the Local 10 Hurricane Survival Guide to make sure you're ready for a storm.

About the Authors: