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Weekly wrap-up: Hermine becomes first hurricane to strike Florida in 11 years; Over 300 reindeer killed by lightning in Norway

Potent tropical systems kept Hawaii and parts of the Gulf Coast and eastern United States on high alert this week.

Tropical depressions Eight and Nine formed near the Outer Banks and in the Gulf of Mexico respectively on Sunday. However, only Tropical Depression Nine strengthened into a storm as it was named Hermine on Wednesday.

As Hermine took aim at Florida's northwest Gulf Coast, it strengthened into a hurricane Thursday afternoon local time. Hermine became the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 51 counties and ordered all state offices to close at noon on Thursday.

Airlines waved change fees for flights in the path off the storm, while NASCAR canceled track activities in Darlington, South Carolina. The NFL also moved the preseason game between the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers from Thursday to Wednesday.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, Gaston remained well away from Bermuda while also strengthening into the first major hurricane of the Atlantic season.

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Madeline and Lester each developed into major hurricanes in the East Pacific this week, keeping Hawaii residents on high alert. However, Madeline weakened to a tropical storm Wednesday afternoon local time, just south of the Big Island and forecasters expected Lester to track away from the state as well.

Typhoon Lionrock made landfall in Japan on Tuesday afternoon local time. The storm's landfall occurred near Ofunato in northern Japan and delivered heavy rain, strong winds and huge swells.

The tropical cyclone produced widespread rainfall of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) across Japan over the course of several days, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Eric Leister.

Lionrock forced travel delays as flights were canceled and train service was suspended, according to Reuters.

By Thursday, Japan was getting ready for another tropical threat as Namtheun strengthened into a typhoon east of the Ryukyu Islands.

A lightning strike in Norway is being blamed for the surprising deaths of over 300 reindeer on Friday, Aug. 26.

Kjartan Knutsen, a spokesman for the Norwegian Environment Agency, told the Associated Press that it's not uncommon for wildlife to be killed by lightning strikes. However, the number of animals involved in this instance was particularly high.

"We have not heard about such numbers before," Knutsen said.

Several AccuWeather meteorologists and staff writers contributed content to this article.


Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Kevin Byrne at Kevin.Byrne@accuweather.com, follow him on Twitter at @Accu_Kevin. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook