Note: As late as Saturday morning, Sept. 24, Tropical Depression 9 was referred to as the developing Tropical Storm and Hurricane Hermine by many media, until the National Hurricane Center decided to assign the name of Hermine to Tropical Depression 10, in the eastern Atlantic, and Ian to what would have been Hermine. It did so ostensibly to avoid confusion between Hurricane Hermine in 2016 and Hurricane Hermine in 2022. The article below reflects the original chronology. See the more updated story here.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting that Tropical Depression Nine, currently in the southeastern Caribbean Sea, will become a tropical storm by Saturday and a Category 2 hurricane by the time it reaches the east of Cuba next Tuesday. A consensus forecast based on significantly diverging models then has the hurricane’s’s path potentially striking the Florida Peninsula in the middle of next week.
But the more immediate local concern, says Jonathan Lord, Flagler County’s emergency management director, are the combination of the lingering effects of Hurricane Fiona, the king tide developing next week, and the significant rain expected ahead of Hurricane Hermine. The combination, Lord says, will almost certainly result in flooding along the Intracoastal and low-lying areas of the county, possibly into some properties.
That’s what Lord wants Flagler Beach and other residents of low-lying areas, such as those along Palm Coast’s canals, to focus on and to prepare for. “That to me is the most pressing thing for residents to be aware of that possibility,” Lord said. That includes acquiring sandbags from hardware stores. “A lot of residents that experienced that already have sandbags.”
The county is not providing sandbags at this point. “As we approach hurricane mode we may look at that but at the end of the day people who need to protect their own property need to take the action they need to take to protect their property,” Lord said. The county and other local governments will “fill gaps” only if conditions deteriorate significantly. Meanwhile, the county’s Emergency Operations Center has not been activated beyond its 24/7 on-call status. “Jonathan Lord has been activated,” Lord said.
The highest tide period won’t be until September 27 to 29, or Tuesday through Thursday, but tides will get increasingly higher from now until then. If the highest-period tide coincides with Hermine’s proximity, flooding from storm surges becomes even more of a concern.
The county experienced a king tide last spring, with some street flooding. But it did not take place on top of other weather developments. This time, the additional factors will exacerbate the effects, Lord said. One of the problem ahead is the capacity of the Intracoastal to drain rapidly enough. Flagler has no inlets. So tide water gets backed up, and floods inland. That’s what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in 2017, when 400 homes in Flagler Beach were flooded. (See: “In Flood-Pummeled Flagler Beach, Mountains of Heartbreak, But Surges of Grit And Samaritans,” and “For Flagler Beach’s 400 Homes Flooded By Irma, Millions in New Repair and Rebuild Grants Bus In.”)
One other concern: with every passing year, the ocean’s level is fractionally higher as it moves toward an elevation of a foot higher than it is today by the middle of the century, because of global warming and polar ice melt.
The National Weather Service in Jacksonville is cautioning of “dangerous beach conditions” into the weekend, with a high risk of rip currents and high surf, especially today and Saturday. Those are the local remnants of Hurricane Fiona. Elevated high tides will continue within the St. Johns River Basin, with minor tidal flooding possible along the coast over the weekend. That’s not encouraging news for Flagler Beach, where unusually high tides in late summer sheared off colossal portions of the sand dunes just north of the pier. Some of the sand has since returned, especially under the pier, but not as much elsewhere.
“With these higher tides and waves, the odds of the dune system having a rough week to say the least is very very high, starting as early as this weekend because of Hurricane Fiona,” Lord said. “But the dunes are there for a purpose, they’re there to protect the property and the people behind them.” They’re also there to be sacrificed to that end. The problem is that in some places along Flagler’s 18-mile coast, the dunes have already been eroded to alarmingly low levels.
As for what is referred to as Tropical Depression 9 for now (the gestating Hurricane Hermine), it is likely within the next 24 hours to become a named tropical storm, Lord said, head towards Jamaica, swing north and head for the Florida Peninsula. Lord said it could go either way: up against the west coast or the east coast, and could also potentially head further west into the Gulf, as some models have it doing. The European forecast model, which has often been the most accurate, has it heading into Florida from the west. The American model has it going further into the Gulf. The National Hurricane Center this morning opted to split the difference, which still has the hurricane striking Florida by mid-week.
“It definitely means Flagler County is at risk of seeing tropical storm impacts or potentially even hurricane storm impacts in the middle of next week. This is a very early educated guess on my behalf because we are still more than five days out,” Lord said.
The forecast for this weekend is for pleasant weather. That’s ideal, Lord said, for residents to prepare–update their disaster kits, stock up on supplies while the stores are not overrun, accumulate enough supplies and food to “live off the grid for seven days,” Lord said, if necessary. Residents can also practice putting up their storm protective covers on windows and panes.
In 2016, another hurricane named Hermine struck Florida, and was the first hurricane to do so in 11 years. The last hurricane to make landfall
It is the most active part of the 2022 hurricane season to date, with two hurricanes–Fiona and Gaston–continuing their swerves north and east in the Atlantic, far from the American mainland, and three weather systems drawing the attention of forecasters.
Fiona in the Atlantic was no threat really, but this one seems to be sneaking under Cuba. Probably is the annual October Gulf of Mexico storm. Could be as bad as a breezy => Tropical storm day as it cuts across FL to as bad as Hurricane weather as it makes landfall on the Gulf Coast cuts across from the West coast to the East coast & back out into the Atlantic. Oh well, not going to obsess of a fear monger, just a watch & see whether it really impacts us.
I read that no sandbags will be provided by the county what about people who physically incampable of filling sand bags and putting them into their vehicle? There are many seniors and people in ill health living in Flagler County—seems like they could care less. As long as they are overly paid that’s what counts in their minds
Me Too says
I work for a municipality in Volusia. We do not have sand bags out yet but when we do, you must bring your own shovel and fill the bags yourself. PD checks to make sure you are a resident of our city. If you are physically incapable of filling your bags they will do it for you. Max is 15 bags.
I can’t believe the County is too cheap to provide sandbags. Good Lord. They should have large amounts stockpiled. Dumb.
Buy your own and stockpile them. Why should our tax money go to protect you from bad weather? We have hurricane season every year, and this year is no different.
Unfortunately the Beaches on both Coasts will get carved up good and proper making the situation all that much worse the wear and tear
I really don’t understand why the advice is always save water, buy batteries etc, when Flagler Beach is always evacuated. Why don’t they tell us how better to protect our homes? I watch these storms from some dismal hotel in Georgia so why do I need batteries and flashlights? I need better drainage on my street, ICW dredging, my neighbors up on Central to NOT drain their water into my yard and a few more storm drains.
Do people want the local government to tell them how to protect their homes from a pending weather situation? How ignorant can a homeowner be? Instead of looking at stupid crap on social media or texting some useless emoji, how about researching how to protect your home from inclement weather. If that’s difficult, I-95 still runs north, pack up and leave.
Hurricane hysteria is coming to Flagler County. Seriously, Matthew in 2016 or Irma in 2017 should be good guides as to the worst case scenarios. If your home made it through those two storms, then it should be fine. It is also a good time to check on hurricane supplies which are not perishable. (Water, batteries, canned food) It is too early, as I write this (Saturday), to buy gasoline for my generator. Gasoline is dangerous to store and even with a fuel stabilizer will not keep much more than a year. I also store my generator dry. Meaning it has no fuel in the tank, fuel line or carburetor.
By all means, make a plan and stick to it. Whether staying or leaving, make a list and don’t rush.
One comment from the story: “One other concern: with every passing year, the ocean’s level is fractionally higher as it moves toward an elevation of a foot higher than it is today by the middle of the century, because of global warming and polar ice melt.” It is not because of global warming an polar ice melt. Rather it is polar ice melt FROM global warming.
MANUELA Rodriguez says
Wow,iam visiting my old mother in New Jersey,I live in Palm Coast, I just hope that nothing happens with this hurricane, I don’t live close to the ocean, or lakes,but when rains very hard,the streets always flowing with water,the town needs to clean up all the deposits where the water runs,& put big pipelines around the edges of the street ,this way the water doesn’t go up all the way up to the property door…nothing is done, Flagler county has lots of issues ,& they never fixed the problem, not wonder we need to put flooding insurances in our insurance policies, at a higher costs to all of us.
The cost of flood insurance is based largely on the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) of a home. A home in which the ground floor is at the BFE will have an insurance premium that is over three times that of a home in which the ground floor is 3 feet above the BFE. Homes with a ground floor below the BFE are very expensive to insure, even if insurance can be purchased. People who buy or build in flood prone locations (Flagler County), need to be aware of this.
Hurricane prone area. Please stay ready. Remember hurricanes are not the only storms to cause down trees, power outage and floods.we in Fla, should always be ready. Dont forget about the tornadoes.
This one is looking worse each NOAA Report. The prediction of hope is it hits FL as a Cat 1 & it’s going to continue North directionally to the tri-state area of GA/SC/NC at that intersection. Will be interesting to see how all the forestry that’s been knocked down for green growth handles the storm. Evacuation ? Is there enough gasoline or roads to get out of here ? Another aspect of Biden open borders that FL can’t offer any better safe haven situation for a population explosion for just the weather alone year on year. We may all become refugees in Fall 2022, Puerto Rico & FL.
Weather Squirrel says
Scrolling back into this article and amazed to see how spot on the forcasted track was 6 days later.