The first hurricane to hit Florida in more than a decade wiped away beachside buildings and toppled trees onto homes Friday before plowing inland on a path that could send it rolling up the densely populated East Coast with heavy rain, high winds and flooding.

Hermine quickly weakened to a tropical storm and was spinning inland along the North Carolina coast late Friday. But the National Hurricane Center predicted it would regain hurricane strength late in the weekend after emerging over the Atlantic Ocean. The system could then lash coastal areas as far north as Connecticut and Rhode Island through Labor Day. “Anyone along the U.S. East Coast needs to be paying close attention this weekend,” said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center. READ MORE