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Hermine Pounds Carolinas, Storm Blamed For Death Of Homeless Florida Man

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Tropical Storm Hermine was moving along the coast of the Carolinas Friday night after making landfall in Florida as a hurricane.

As CBS News' Kenneth Craig reported, the storm dumped rain and knocked down trees with its powerful wind. In Charleston, Hermine brought heavy rain driven by wind gusts of more than 50 mph.

"We are expecting serious winds, serious rainfall that can lead to flash flooding," said Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.

Gordon and Bonnie Geer spent the morning securing the house that has been in the family for 150 years, but they are not worried.

"Been there, done that a couple of times. It shouldn't be that bad," Gordon Geer said. "It's just the wind, it's easy, as long as it's not a lot of rain."

Late Friday night, the storm was taking aim at North Carolina.

The storm earlier passed through Georgia, where the situation turned out better than expected.

Jim Butterworth, director of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, said in a telephone interview Friday that no deaths or major structural damage had been reported in 56 Georgia counties under an emergency declaration.

But Georgia hardly came out unscathed. In Savannah, a possible tornado spawned by the storm battered a dozen homes in one subdivision.

"My house was kind of vibrating, and we hears some sticks and stuff breaking; some things hitting the roof; rumble as like as they say a freight train," said Tom Wolwode of Savannah, "and then it was done, and it looks like a big mower came through and mowed down the trees."

Hermine weakened to a tropical storm as it pushed into Georgia. It came ashore early Friday morning as the first hurricane to hit Florida in more than a decade.

PHOTOS: Hermine Slams Florida

In Florida, a seven-foot storm surge and several inches of rain flooded streets and downed trees knocked out power to more than 100,000 residents.

"We will spend the coming days assessing the damage and responding to the needs of our communities and Florida families," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said.

Speaking at a news conference, Scott said a homeless man died when a tree fell on him as winds from Hermine whipped across the state. The governor said he was informed of the fatality Friday morning by Marion County Sheriff Emery Gainey.

The governor said no other deaths or major injuries have been reported.

Early Friday morning, Pasco County Fire Rescue and sheriff's deputies used high-water vehicles to rescue people from rising water. They were taken to a nearby shelter.

The sheriff's office said in a news release that storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico, combined with intermittent bands of heavy rain, pushed water into low-lying neighborhoods.

Many roads in the area north of Tampa are also flooded.

Although the storm was over land Friday, National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said it's expected to re-emerge over the Atlantic on Saturday and regain strength over the warm water off North Carolina.

He said anyone living near the Atlantic Coast from Georgia to Connecticut should pay attention to Hermine as it moves north this Labor Day weekend.

Tropical storm watches have been issued from New Jersey to the Connecticut-Rhode Island border.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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