Tropical Depression Nicole weakens to 35mph winds

Tropical Storm Nicole weakened into a depression and rolled out of Florida on Thursday evening, but the ramifications of the former Category 1 storm were still being revealed – evacuations ordered, human remains discovered, houses, roads and piers collapsing and deaths related to four storms.

Hurricane Nicole made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph at 3 a.m. Thursday on North Hutchinson Island, just south of Vero Beach. And Nicole’s arrival just six weeks after Hurricane Ian swept through Florida proved overwhelming for coastal communities already impacted by the Category 4 storm.

Even after Nicole moved to the West Coast, residents of a Daytona Beach Shores condominium in Volusia County were ordered to evacuate because a dike collapsed. Still other buildings are at risk, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

The storm eroded the beaches so much that homes in Wilbur-by-the-Sea tipped over into the Atlantic or barely stood.

“It’s obviously not as big a storm as Hurricane Ian,” Gov. Ron DeSantis, referring to the devastating storm that hit Florida in September, said at a Thursday morning news conference in Tallahassee. . “But in the aftermath you see communities, especially in the Volusia County area, where there’s been a lot of erosion on the shoreline. This has put some structures at risk and they are working very hard to make sure everyone is safe.

Krista Dowling Goodrich, who manages 130 rental homes in Daytona Beach Shores as director of sales and marketing at Salty Dog Vacations, saw the waterfront disappear behind some properties as evacuations were underway just before the storm hit. She was trying to get to the scene on Thursday morning to see how they were doing.

“While we were there, the whole yard started to collapse into the ocean. It went all the way to the house,” she said. The water also compromised the remaining land between a row of tall condominiums nearby, she said.

Daytona Beach Shores officials deemed several multi-story coastal residential buildings unsafe and went door to door telling people to grab their belongings and leave. County officials deemed 24 hotels and condos in Daytona Beach Shores unsafe and ordered them evacuated, WESH-Ch. 2 reported.

“These were the tall skyscrapers. So people who didn’t want to leave, they were physically forcing them out because it wasn’t safe,” Goodrich said. “I’m worried about the infrastructure in the area at the moment because once the dykes are gone they won’t just let people in…there will be a lot of displaced people for a while.”

On Thursday, surfers walk on Lauderdale-by-the-Sea beach past a section of Anglin's fishing pier that collapsed during Tropical Storm Nicole.

Authorities had warned that storm surge from Nicole could further erode many beaches. November’s rare hurricane prompted authorities to close airports and theme parks and order evacuations.

North of Volusia, in Flagler County, it was not houses washed away by the high waves, but a main road.

Further north in St. Johns County, six miles of the waterfront A1A State Road is impassable, county officials said. in a tweet. Parts of the coastal road in Saint Augustine collapsed from a combination of Nicole’s storm surge and high tide.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said at a press conference Thursday that four people had died because of Nicole. Two people were electrocuted by a downed power line in suburban Orlando.

The man was found dead near his car and a woman traveling with him died in hospital after the two made contact with the power line in the Conway neighborhood of southeast Orlando, the office said. of the Orange County Sheriff. Another man was taken to hospital after being shocked by a downed power line in a flooded area of ​​St. Augustine, according to News4Jax.

Two more people died in a crash on Florida’s turnpike in the county Thursday morning, Demings said.

The winds of Nicole unearthed an unexpected find on the beach of Hutchinson Island, where he made landfall – human remains. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that they found the remains of six bodies, believed to be from a Native American burial site in the same area.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission employees guard the area where ancient human remains were discovered by waves from Hurricane Nicole on Chastain Beach in Stuart.

Thousands of people were left without power Thursday night, with more than 52,000 outages in Brevard County.

On Thursday morning, the sun was back in South Florida as the storm’s wind field moved away to the north. Some coastal neighborhoods were flooded and much of the Anglin Pier in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea was missing.

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Palm Beach County lifted its evacuation order late Thursday morning, which applied to coastal neighborhoods, mobile homes and low-lying areas.

At 10 p.m., Tropical Depression Nicole was 20 miles north of Tallahassee with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, moving northwest at 15 mph.

Nicole will move into southwestern Georgia and the western Carolinas on Friday, the National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory said. It should dissipate by Friday evening.

Few places were still under a tropical storm and storm surge warning: the line from Flagler/Volusia County in Florida to Altamaha Sound in Georgia and Aripeka to Indian Pass were under a tropical storm warning . The Flagler/Volusia County line to Altamaha Sound, the mouth of the St. Johns River to Georgetown, and the Anclote River to the Ochlockonee River were under a storm surge warning. .

After Thursday’s strike by a rare november hurricane, the Atlantic is free of potential storms, according to the National Hurricane Center’s five-day forecast map. Hurricane season officially ends on November 30.

Information from the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report.

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