HILO, Hawaii (AP) - The Latest on tropical weather systems threatening the Southeast and Hawaii (all times Hawaii local):
A tropical storm warning has been issued for a section of the U.S. East Coast as Tropical Storm Hermine approaches Florida from the Gulf of Mexico.
The warning covers an area that extends from Marineland, Florida, northward to the South Santee River in South Carolina.
A hurricane warning was already in effect for a section of Florida's Gulf coast from the Suwanne River to Mexico Beach. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for other sections of Florida's Gulf coast.
Hermine's maximum sustained winds remain near 60 mph (95 kph). Forecasters say Hermine is expected to become a hurricane by the time it makes landfall on Florida's coast Thursday night or early Friday.
As of 5 a.m. EDT Thursday, Hermine is centered about 275 miles (440 kilometers) west-southwest of Tampa, Florida, and is moving north-northeast near 12 mph (19 kph).
The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tropical Storm Hermine is gaining strength as it rumbles toward Florida's Gulf Coast.
Forecasters say Hermine's top sustained winds have risen to 45 mph (75 kph) and the storm is now centered about 325 miles (525 kilometers) south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida.
Forecasters say Hermine could be near hurricane strength by Thursday night as it approaches the Gulf Coast. Authorities say they've extended a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning from the Anclote River northwest of Tampa to Destin in the Florida Panhandle.
A tropical storm warning also continues on the Atlantic seaboard from Marineland, Florida, to the Altamaha Sound in Georgia.
Intermittent, heavy rain has fallen in Hawaii ahead of what could be the first hurricane to hit the island in a quarter-century.
The rain fell overnight and early Wednesday then stopped, leaving just a slight wind.
Residents took precautions to protect themselves and their belonging from Hurricane Madeline.
Hilo resident Olivia Guerrero used tape to reinforce her apartment windows amid uncertainty about the storm.
The National Weather Service said Madeline had weakened but remained on track to hit Hawaii's Big Island early Thursday.
Officials urged residents to expect hurricane conditions and to take steps to protect themselves and their property.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Lester was about 1,000 miles from Hawaii and expected to drop to a tropical storm by Sunday.