NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)– White waves were seen crashing into rock jetties Saturday in New Jersey as residents across the Tri-State area brace for Tropical Storm Hermine.

Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency for Ocean County, Atlantic County and Cape May County as a result of severe weather conditions expected throughout the Labor Day weekend.

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The National Weather Service is forecasting Tropical Storm Hermine will impact the entire New Jersey shoreline, and Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May Counties in particular, beginning on September 3, bringing tropical storm force winds, very heavy and sustained rain, as well as moderate to major coastal flooding with heavy surf and beach erosion.

Winds were already whipping on South Beach in Staten Island Saturday evening, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.

“The beach is deserted and I think everybody’s scared,” one resident said.

Sherry Puma lives across the street from the ocean where flood damaged homes are still being raised and repaired nearly four years after Superstorm Sandy.

“I’m afraid that we’re going to have another surge and we are going to be underwater again,” she told CBS2.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio banned swimming at city beaches starting Sunday due to rip currents that could be the worst in a decade and he’s warning all New Yorkers to take precautions. 

A tropical storm warning was issued for New York City, Long Island and parts of Westchester County. The alert went into effect at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Locals are urged to stay indoors, secure loose objects, prepare for flooding, and lower the temperature of your fridge and freezer in case of power outages.

Amtrak says it has cancelled or altered some service on the East Coast as storm approaches. The railroad announced Friday that it has cancelled Saturday’s scheduled Silver Star train from New York to Miami. It also stopped the Auto Train line that runs from Lorton, Virginia, to Sanford, Florida.

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Riders should check Amtrak’s website or call for up-to-date information.

Down south, About 300,000 homes were without electricity in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said Saturday morning. Other outages included more than 107,000 without power in Georgia, 21,000 in South Carolina, 45,000 in North Carolina and 53,000 in Virginia.

“I want everybody to have their power. I want them to be able to take a hot shower,” Scott said. 

Governors Terry McAulliff of Virginia and Larry Hogan of Maryland declared states of emergency for coastal areas and warned of life-threatening storm surges.

Hermine pushed a storm surge powerful enough to crumple docks and wash out homes and businesses in Florida’s Big Bend area. A homeless man south of Gainesville died when a tree fell on him, Scott said.

Scott observed damage in the coastal communities of Cedar Key and Steinhatchee by helicopter, and pledged state help for damaged businesses. 

Forecasters said the storm threatened another dangerous storm surge in Hampton Roads in southeast Virginia as moved northeast at 21 mph (33 kph) with top sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph) at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Flash flood watches were in effect for northeast North Carolina and southeast Virginia, including Virginia Beach and Norfolk through Saturday evening.

Forecasters said the system could strengthen back into a hurricane by Monday morning off the Maryland-Delaware coast before weakening again as it moves north.

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