NEW YORK (AP) — The potential of drenching rain and flooding from Tropical Storm Hermine as it moves up the East Coast has forced the cancellation or postponement of many Labor Day weekend events and the closing of some schools and government offices.
Hermine made landfall as a hurricane in Florida’s Big Bend area early Friday. It was the first hurricane to hit the state in more than a decade.
The National Weather Service said Hermine weakened to a tropical storm as it moved over southern Georgia early Friday. It was expected to move into the Carolinas and up the East Coast, potentially dropping 2 to 10 inches of rainfall through Monday morning in some areas.
Below are state closings, cancellations and postponements:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday closed the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in south Georgia. The refuge, directly in Hermine’s path, features vast swamplands inhabited by alligators. Spokesman Tom McKenzie said falling trees could prove dangerous to gators and other wildlife.
The National Park Service closed Georgia’s Cumberland Island to visitors until Saturday morning. The barrier island is home to roughly 15 miles of federally protected wilderness. It’s reachable only by boat.
The National Hurricane Center has placed the southern half of Georgia’s 100-mile coast under a tropical storm watch.
All Savannah-Chatham Public School and administrative offices are closed.
Several college campuses also have closed as a precaution. They are Albany State University and Darton State College, and their satellite locations in Cairo and Cordele. Valdosta State and Georgia Southern also canceled all scheduled classes for Friday. Albany and Darton will reopen Tuesday.
Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for 56 counties in parts of south, central and coastal Georgia.
In Savannah, the Bacon Fest, originally a three-day event from Friday through Sunday, will be held on Saturday and Sunday. And the Craft Brew Fest planned for outdoors has been moved inside the trade and convention center.
With tropical storm warnings in effect, public schools from Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head were closed as forecasters predicted as much as 5 inches of rain as the storm moved through.
The Citadel and the College of Charleston canceled classes and Joint Base Charleston, which consists of the Charleston Air Force Base and the Charleston Naval Weapons Station, also closed though essential personnel were asked to report to the base.
Local governments also closed their offices. South Carolina state offices closed in eight counties on or near the coast.
Ferry boats that take visitors to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor where the Civil War began were not running Friday, and the national monument was to close at noon.
The popular open-air City Market in downtown Charleston, a must-see for millions of visitors to Charleston each year, also was closed Friday. The market is in an area that generally floods during heavy rains.
The Beach Boogie and BBQ Festival in Myrtle Beach was canceled for Friday evening but will be held Saturday.
Also, the Dorn Veteran Administration Medical Center in Columbia canceled appointments for several clinics ahead of the storm.
The Fort Fisher State Historic Site near Wilmington and the Moores Creek National Battlefield closed Friday.
A fireworks show planned for the coastal community of Carolina Beach was postponed from Friday until Saturday.
Officials at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the Outer Banks warned that dangerous rip currents were affecting beaches all along the seashore.
Gov. Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency in 33 counties in the eastern part of the state.
Old Dominion and Norfolk State universities were considering whether to postpone their football home openers until Sunday because of the storm.
The decision is expected to be made by midday Friday.
Old Dominion is scheduled to host Hampton University. Elizabeth City State University is set to visit Norfolk State.
Old Dominion expects 20,000 fans, including thousands who tailgate in nearby lots. Forecasters say the storm could bring heavy rains and high winds to the region on Saturday afternoon and evening.
Sails in Lewes, Delaware, aboard a replica of the colonial ship Kalmar Nyckel have been canceled for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.