The powerful post-tropical cyclone Hermine lurked off the Eastern Seaboard on Sunday, menacing coastal communities in at least six states with the threat of floodwaters.
Although the storm was hundreds of miles from the shoreline, and becoming less of a threat after it moved farther east than first forecast, officials closed beaches, shut down roads and canceled Labor Day concerts.
The National Hurricane Center said Sunday that the storm, which made landfall in Florida as a Category 1 hurricane on Friday, was about 325 miles east-southeast of Ocean City, Md. — far at sea, but close enough to be pummeling coastal areas with heavy rains, riptides and storm surges up to 5 feet.
Forecasters said the storm's path could slow and shift toward the north later Sunday. A "slow north-northwestward motion" was predicted through Monday.
Tropical storm warnings or watches were in effect between the Cape Charles, Va., area and Cape Cod, Mass., and officials said they were especially concerned about flooding on the Delmarva Peninsula and along the Jersey Shore. The governors of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia declared emergencies for at least parts of their states, and in New York, the National Guard was on alert.
The hurricane center on Sunday described a sprawling storm system with tropical storm-force winds — between 39 and 73 mph — extending more than 200 miles from its center. Hermine strengthened slightly Sunday, with sustained winds of 70 mph, and the hurricane center said it was "expected to be at or near hurricane strength" through Tuesday.
Tropical storm-force winds were possible on Labor Day in New Jersey. Gov. Chris Christie warned that minor to moderate flooding was still likely in coastal areas.
"Don't be lulled by the nice weather," Christie said, referring to the sunny skies along the Jersey Shore on Sunday.