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Fox News Weather Center

REPORTS: Hurricane Hermine bears down on Florida

As Hermine tracks closer to land, millions of Floridians are preparing for severe effects from the first landfalling hurricane to hit Florida in 11 years.

Hermine was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane shortly before 3 p.m. EDT on Thursday. The storm is expected to slam Florida with flooding rain, damaging wind, storm surge and tornadoes.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for 51 counties and has regularly been in contact with local officials to help prepare residents.

Houses and business were being boarded up while tens of thousands of sandbags were being distributed. Many counties were under evacuation orders, according to Scott.

Many locations in Florida are already feeling the effects of Hermine. Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer reported heavy rain and gusty wind across Florida's Big Bend. He also observed flooded roadways in St. Marks, Florida.

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Flooding was reported near Williams Pier, in Gulfport, Florida, on Thursday afternoon. (Photo/Instagram user tony5924)