British tourists in Florida have been warned to take precautions as a hurricane heads towards the state today (Friday).

Hurricane Hermine is expected to make landfall on the northern Florida Gulf Coast – the first hurricane to hit the state since 2005.

Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 51 counties as residents were braced for the dangerous storm, the BBC reported.

Wind gusts reached 80mph on Thursday, the National Hurricane Centre said.

“This is life threatening. We have not had a hurricane in years,” Governor Scott said.

He added that 8,000 members of the Florida National Guard were prepared to be deployed in the wake of the storm.

Scott ordered evacuations in five counties in Florida’s north-west and called for voluntary evacuations in three other coastal counties.

The city of St Petersburg near Tampa was littered with downed palm fronds and tree branches, and low-lying streets were flooded.

Power cuts have hit thousands of homes in north Florida. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal also has declared a state of emergency for 56 counties.

In updated travel advice, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “Hurricane Hermine is forecast to bring strong winds, including sporadic tornadoes, heavy rain, hazardous sea conditions and flooding to Florida from Friday, and to Georgia, South and North Carolina thereafter.

“You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the instructions issued by the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.”

The FCO also issued an alert over Hawaii where Hurricane Lester is expected to bring strong winds, heavy rain, including potential mudslides, hazardous sea conditions, and local flooding from Saturday.