Hermine kicks up stiff winds in Long Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts
Hermine’s stiff winds and dangerous rip currents threatened eastern Massachusetts Monday, while cruise ship passengers were reeling from a wild ride in rough seas.
A tropical storm warning for New York City was canceled early Monday, but warnings remained in effect along the eastern coast of Long Island, as well as Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and the islands.
Wind gusts up to 50 mph were expected, threatening to create scattered power outages, as the former hurricane meanders out at sea.
Royal Caribbean cruise ship Anthem of the Seas, which was heading from New Jersey to Bermuda, rocked and rolled as it cut through the outskirts of Hermine Sunday.
One passenger, New Jersey resident Derek Beidermann, said in a video tweet from his brother-in-law Robert McHugh that beginning early morning Sunday, the ship started “swaying a bit” in the rough weather.
Beidermann estimated the winds measured “something like 90 knots” (103 mph) and ocean swells “got up to 40 or 50 feet at one point.”
In the ship’s restaurants, dishes were “going all over the place,” Beidermann said.
Many passengers were feeling sick from the rough weather. “Half the ship is in the room right now over the toilet,” Beidermann said.
McHugh reported Monday that seas were “much better this morning.”
Anthem of the Seas is no stranger to rough waters. Last February at least four people were hurt when the ship hit hurricane-force winds off North Carolina, prompting the crew to turn the vessel around and return to port in New Jersey.
Warnings from Fire Island to Nantucket
Stretches of the northeast coastline specifically under the tropical storm warning Monday included Long Island from Fire Island Inlet to Port Jefferson Harbor and from New Haven, Connecticut, to Sagamore Beach, Block Island and Massachusetts, including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Officials warned about dangerous rip currents and high surf, which are possible through mid-week. There won’t be much rainfall Monday and Tuesday — totals will range from half an inch to 1.5 inches.
Hermine is expected to slowly meander off the mid-Atlantic coast for the next couple of days.
Monday at 7 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said the storm was drifting north at about 3 mph. Hermine’s center was about 470 miles southeast of the eastern tip of Long Island.
Maximum sustained winds are near hurricane strength at about 70 mph with higher gusts. Tropical storm winds extend out from its center up to 230 miles. Hermine is expected to make a gradual north-northwest turn later Monday. Beginning Tuesday morning it’s expected to weaken and turn to the northeast.
More than 34,000 without power in Florida Monday
Meanwhile, in Florida where Hermine first made landfall early Friday as a Category 1 hurricane, at least 34,361 customers remained without power as of 8 a.m. Monday, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
Leon County — located in the northwestern part of the state at the top of the Big Bend — reported the most outages — 19% of its customers had no power. Adjacent Wakulla County reported 18% of customers without power.
Hermine has been linked to at least two deaths — a man sleeping in a tent in Ocala who died after a tree fell on him and the death of a truck driver whose vehicle overturned due to high winds in eastern North Carolina.
Ruined holiday weekend
The storm doused Labor Day weekend plans for countless residents along the Eastern Seaboard.
Because of concerns about rough seas, dangerous surf and strong storm surge, no swimming was allowed on New York beaches Sunday and Monday.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency Saturday for Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties.
The storm forced the famous Steel Pier amusement park in Atlantic City to close Saturday.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency for 12 counties along the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland.