Hermine Leaves Thousands Without Power in Carolinas, Now Heads Toward Virginia

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Hermine slammed into North Carolina late Friday night, unleashing heavy rain and gusty winds, creating flooding in many areas, knocking down trees, and leaving thousands of residents without power in both inland and coastal areas. The tropical storm has since turned into a post-tropical cyclone, with sustained winds strengthening to 65 mph on Saturday.

Authorities say at least two deaths have been blamed on the storm.

As of 11 a.m. Saturday, the National Hurricane Center had extended the tropical storm warning northward to include Long Island and New York City. New tropical storm watches were also issued for parts of Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts.

Duke Energy reported 2,432 outages across the state after midnight Saturday -- down from a high of 18,000 at 9:40 p.m. Friday -- while Dominion North Carolina reported 11,201 outages. The state has other utility companies, but those figures were so far unknown.

At 2 a.m. Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said Hermine's center was 60 miles west-northwest of Cape Lookout, North Carolina.

 Despite reports of a tornado in North Carolina, there has been no confirmation from the National Weather Service. But the Dare County EMS told ABC News that four people were injured by debris from the purported tornado. They were transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. There was also some damage to structures at the Hatteras Sands Campground.

Governor Pat McCrory had issued a State of Emergency Declaration for the 33 eastern North Carolina counties ahead of the storm "to facilitate the movement of any resources that may be needed to respond to and recover from the storm."

 Hermine is expected to head northeast toward the Atlantic Ocean later today, according to ABC News meteorologist Dan Manzo.

The next state to feel the wrath of Hermine? Virginia.

Manzo says Hermine is threatening a storm surge into southeast Virginia. "The most pressing issue this morning will become the possibly dangerous storm surge in the Hampton Bays area of Virginia," he said. "Additional rainfall of 3 to 4 inches still remains forecasted for the eastern portions of Virginia and North Carolina, which could set off flash flooding."

 According to Manzo, winds today in eastern North Carolina and Eastern Virginia are expected to gust as high as 40-plus miles per hour. Flash flooding in the region will continue to be a concern with three to five inches of additional rainfall in the forecast this morning.

Hermine is expected to strengthen once it moves offshore late Saturday, and there is the possibility that it could reach hurricane intensity by Sunday, says ABC News' Manzo.

Maryland has already declared a state of emergency ahead of Hermine, which will bring tropical storm conditions into the mid-Atlantic region today, then into coastal areas of New Jersey and New York on Sunday, says Manzo.

Before hitting North Carolina, Hermine lashed the coastline areas of South Carolina and Georgia. As of midnight Saturday, there were 64,796 power outages across South Carolina, according to the state's Emergency Management Division. And in Georgia, there were 107,000 power outages. Georgia declared a state of emergency, but South Carolina did not.

In South Carolina, multiple cars were pulled out of flood waters in the Garden City area last night, and many homes there were also flooded. Officials are also looking for a missing swimmer near Murrells Inlet.

And before being downgraded to a tropical storm, Hermine hit Florida early Friday morning as a category 1 hurricane, the first to slam into the state in eleven years. An estimated 325,000 people were without power statewide.

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