Hurricane Hermine made landfall near the Big Bend area of Florida as a Category 1 hurricane, at 5:30 a.m. Friday, September 2, with maximum sustained winds around 80 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. Hermine has become the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Hurricane Wilma struck 11 years ago. Since it began to move inland, it weakened to a tropical storm status and will continue moving upwards along the east coast.

"This motion is expected to continue today and Saturday," the National Hurricane Center told CNN. "On the forecast track, the center of Hermine should continue to move farther inland across southeastern Georgia today and into the Carolinas tonight and Saturday."

What damage has Hermine left in its wake?
In Tallahassee alone, more than 100,000 utility customers are without power, according to CNN. Meanwhile, NBC News reported that right as the hurricane struck, an estimated 200,000 residents had no power across Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. At least 20 people from Pasco County, which is north of Tampa, were evacuated early Friday morning. Many other counties have issued evacuation notices for residents in low-lying areas as well.

"More than 100,000 utility customers are without power."

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 51 of the state's 67 counties due to high winds, debris and massive flooding. He also pleaded with his constituents to remain safe and heed warnings about the hurricane's severity. 

"We have a hurricane. You can rebuild a home. You can rebuild property. You cannot rebuild a life," Scott said in a statement. "We have 6,000 members of the national guard ready to be mobilized,."

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory also issued a state of emergency for 33 of the state's eastern counties. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal also announced a state of emergency for 56 of the state's counties. Over this next weekend, parts of Georgia expect around 10 inches of rainfall.

What can homeowners do following the storm?
For residents in the hardest hit areas of Florida, you likely took preventative steps to avoid extensive damage to your home. Following the storm, you want to make sure you have both before-and-after photos ready for your insurance claim should there be any flooding or high wind damage. This way, you can settle any insurance disputes with ease should they arise.

Aside from insurance claims, you want to make sure your home is fully prepared for the next tropical storm of hurricane that comes along. Consider investing in impact-resistant windows that will protect your home from some of the harshest hurricane winds. 

No matter what else Florida weather throws at you this hurricane season, impact windows will remain intact and keep your home free from damage. Contact a NewSouth Window Solutions expert today to schedule a free, in-home consultation about how hurricane windows might be just what you need this season.

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