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Hermine becomes a hurricane; Ocean City remains in forecasted path

Hermine could impact Labor Day weekend in Maryland. (WJZ)

The tropical cyclone named Hermine became a hurricane Thursday as it neared the Florida coast. But as it moves up the Atlantic coast into the weekend, it could spare Central Maryland, according to the latest predictions.

Hermine was about 115 miles from the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico as of late Thursday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center. It had winds of up to 75 mph at its core, making it a Category 1 hurricane.

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Hurricane warnings were in effect along the Florida panhandle, with tropical storm warnings posted on the Atlantic coast from northern Florida to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

A forecast cone posted Wednesday that was worrisome for the Baltimore region has since shifted further out to sea. Current forecasts suggest that after passing over the Outer Banks, the storm, or remnants of it, could brush the Delmarva peninsula on its way out into the Atlantic.

That could mean heavy rain, gusty winds and, in the least, heavy surf for Ocean City beachgoers over Labor Day weekend. The storm is also now expected to move slower, potentially brushing Ocean City on Sunday into Monday, instead of on Saturday and Sunday.

Earlier forecasts had the storm barreling up the Interstate 95 corridor and over the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay by late Saturday.

Meteorologists warned that the storm still demands close monitoring, as its forecast track could continue to shift over the next few days.

"For now, greatest impacts look to be across southern Maryland, with gusty winds and potential for heavy rain Saturday and into Saturday night," forecasters at the National Weather Service's Baltimore/Washington forecast office wrote Thursday morning.

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