DISASTERS

Hermine hits Florida coast as 1st hurricane in a decade

  • Cedar Key police chief Virgil Sandlin checks on the downtown area as Hurricane Hermine nears the Florida coast, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Cedar Key, Fla. Tropical Storm Hermine strengthened into a hurricane Thursday and steamed toward Florida's Gulf Coast, where people put up shutters, nailed plywood across store windows and braced for the first direct hit on the state from a hurricane in over a decade. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

    Cedar Key police chief Virgil Sandlin checks on the downtown area as Hurricane Hermine nears the Florida coast, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Cedar Key, Fla. Tropical Storm Hermine strengthened into a hurricane Thursday and steamed toward Florida's Gulf Coast, where people put up shutters, nailed plywood across store windows and braced for the first direct hit on the state from a hurricane in over a decade. (AP Photo/John Raoux)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this image made from a video, rough surf smashes against a dock as Hurricane Hermine nears the Florida coast, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Carabelle, Fla. Hurricane Hermine gained new strength Thursday evening as it roared closer to Florida's Gulf Coast and people braced for the first direct hit on the state from a hurricane in over a decade. (AP Photo/Joshua Replogle)

    In this image made from a video, rough surf smashes against a dock as Hurricane Hermine nears the Florida coast, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Carabelle, Fla. Hurricane Hermine gained new strength Thursday evening as it roared closer to Florida's Gulf Coast and people braced for the first direct hit on the state from a hurricane in over a decade. (AP Photo/Joshua Replogle)  (The Associated Press)

  • Waves break against the County Pier as beachgoers were able to visit before it was closed in the afternoon in advance of Tropical Storm Hermine, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Panama City Beach, Fla. Hermine strengthened into a hurricane Thursday and steamed toward Florida's Gulf Coast, where people put up shutters, nailed plywood across store windows and braced for the first hurricane to hit the state in over a decade.(Patti Blake/News Herald via AP)

    Waves break against the County Pier as beachgoers were able to visit before it was closed in the afternoon in advance of Tropical Storm Hermine, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Panama City Beach, Fla. Hermine strengthened into a hurricane Thursday and steamed toward Florida's Gulf Coast, where people put up shutters, nailed plywood across store windows and braced for the first hurricane to hit the state in over a decade.(Patti Blake/News Herald via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Forecasters say Hurricane Hermine has made landfall over northwest Florida just east of St. Marks.

It's the first hurricane to directly strike the Sunshine State in more than a decade, roaring in from the northwest Gulf Coast with 80-mph winds and heavy rains.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Hermine made landfall early Friday around 1:30 a.m. EDT.

Projected storm surges of up to 12 feet menaced the coastline and expected rainfall up to 10 inches carried the danger of flooding through the storm's path, including the state capital, Tallahassee, which hadn't been hit by a hurricane since Kate in 1985.

Hermine is expected to drop back down to a tropical storm before pushing into Georgia, the Carolinas and up the East Coast with the potential for drenching rain and deadly flooding.