Over 50 counties in Florida are now under a state of emergency. Governor Rick Scott expanded the zone Thursday morning to include Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa counties.
Hurricane Hermine let up a little bit Thursday afternoon, but winds and rain started around 2 PM by Restaurant Row. Bands in the storm also brought a peaceful sunset to the beach.
Strong waves brought jellyfish out of the gulf and onto the beach. People were extra careful as they walked so they wouldn’t get stung.
A very strong rip current had double red flags flying, with lifeguards poised and always scanning the water. They encouraged people to stay out of the gulf unless they are experienced open water swimmers.
One gentleman who was on the beach with his wife prepared to go into the water, armed with flippers and bravery, to do some body surfing.
“It is scary,” said Eric Martinez. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say the whole time I’m in the water, I’m very focused, I’m very alert. You gotta keep calm.”
The storm is expected to make landfall Thursday evening into Friday morning. Double red flags flew all day Thursday, with the possibility of single red flags on both Friday and Saturday.