Hurricane Nicole made landfall early Thursday along Florida’s east coast just south of Vero Beach before being downgraded to a tropical storm as it raked through the central part of the state, the report said. National Hurricane Center. Nicole battered much of the storm-weary state with high winds, dangerous storm surge and heavy rain, the center said.
A man and a woman died after being electrocuted by a downed power line at an intersection, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday.
“We urge all of our residents and visitors to exercise extreme caution if outside in the aftermath of the storm today,” the sheriff’s office said. said on facebook. “Never touch a downed power line. If you are driving and see a downed power line, change direction immediately.”
Nicole tipped several houses into the Atlantic Ocean and threatened a row of high-rise condominiums in places where Hurricane Ian washed away the dikes and other remaining protection only a few weeks ago.
“Several coastal homes in Wilbur-by-the-Sea have collapsed and several other properties are in imminent danger,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said in a social media post. In the Daytona Beach area, most bridges to the beach have been closed to all but essential personnel and a curfew has been put in effect, he said.
Wilbur-by-the-Sea is an unincorporated community on a barrier island with only beachfront homes. Next door in Daytona Beach Shores, a strip of high-rise condominiums were evacuated before landing of Nicole because their seawalls had collapsed and the beach had all but disappeared.
The Marbella Condominium Owners Association had just spent $240,000 to temporarily rebuild the seawall Ian destroyed in September, said Connie Hale Gellner, whose family owns a unit there. Live video from cameras in the building showed Nicole’s storm surge sweeping him away.
“We knew it wasn’t meant to stop a hurricane, just to stop erosion,” Gellner said. But after Nicole, the building’s pool deck “is basically in the ocean,” Gellner said. “The problem is that we don’t have a beach anymore. So even if we wanted to rebuild, they would probably condemn the building because the water is just splashing against the building.”
Early damage assessments showed how Nicole left several beachfront properties teetering above the water. Volusia Sheriff’s Office job a photo of a house where erosion had undermined the ground up to its main wall facing the ocean. A roofed platform jutted out over the eroded slope supported by narrow beams.
What was a rare November hurricane had already led authorities to close airports and theme parks and order evacuations, including former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.
Meanwhile, some 300,000 homes and businesses in Florida had no power, according to PowerOutage.us.
Gov. Ron DeSantis told a news conference in Tallahassee there were 17,000 powerline workers ready to begin restoring power and many other assets, including lifeboats and vehicles, will be deployed as needed.
“We are ready and have the resources to meet any needs that may arise after the storm,” the governor said.
Nicole had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph Thursday afternoon with its center located about 45 miles north of Tampa and about 165 miles southeast of Tallahassee, according to the hurricane center. It was moving northwest at 15 mph.
Tropical storm-force winds from the sprawling storm extended up to 345 miles from the center in some directions.
Nicole was expected to move west toward the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, move north and then cross the Florida Panhandle and parts of Georgia Thursday evening, the hurricane center said. The storm was expected to cross the southeastern United States on Friday.
Mike’s weather page tweeted videos of many dramatic scenes.
Nicole became a hurricane Wednesday night when it slammed into Grand Bahama Island after making landfall hours earlier on Great Abaco Island as a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. It is the first storm to hit the Bahamas since Hurricane Doriana category 5 storm that devastated the archipelago in 2019.
For storm-weary Floridians, this is only the third November hurricane to hit their shores since record-keeping began in 1853. The previous ones were Hurricane Yankee of 1935 and Hurricane Kate of 1985.
Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s club and home, was in one of the evacuation zones, about a quarter-mile inland from the ocean. The main buildings sit on a small rise of about 15 feet above sea level, and the property has survived many stronger hurricanes since it was built nearly a century ago. The station’s security office hung up on Wednesday when an Associated Press reporter asked if the club was being evacuated. There were no signs of evacuation Wednesday afternoon.
There is no penalty for ignoring an evacuation order, but rescue teams will not respond if doing so puts their members at risk.
Daytona Beach Shores officials have deemed at least half a dozen multi-story coastal residential buildings already damaged by Hurricane Ian and now threatened by Nicole unsafe. In some places, authorities went door to door telling people to seize their belongings and leave.
Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort said they likely won’t open as planned on Thursday.
Palm Beach International Airport reopened Thursday morning and Daytona Beach International Airport said it planned to reopen on Friday. Orlando International Airport, the seventh busiest in the United States, firm. Further south, officials say Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Miami International Airport experienced flight delays and cancellations, but both planned to remain open.
Nearly two dozen school districts were closing schools for the storm and 15 shelters had opened along Florida’s east coast, DeSantis said.
Forty-five of Florida’s 67 counties were under a state of emergency declaration. President Biden also approved an emergency declaration for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, ordering federal aid to the tribal nation, many of whose members live on six reservations around the state. The tribe also owns the Hard Rock Cafe franchise, with several of its hotels and casinos on Nicole’s way.
Warnings and watches have been issued for many parts of Florida, including the southwest Gulf Coast which was devastated by Hurricane Ian, which hit as a Category 4 storm on September 28. The storm destroyed homes and damaged crops, including orange groves, across the state – damage many are still experiencing.
Ian caused a storm surge of up to 13ft in late September causing widespread destruction.