Nicole became a rare November hurricane Thursday, making landfall overnight in Florida as a Category 1 before rapidly fading back to tropical storm status. But it still managed to wreak a bit of havoc, knocking out power in some parts of the state and battering the area with high winds and coastal flooding.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Nicole landed at 3 a.m. ET near Vero Beach. The New York Times said that made it the “first hurricane to hit Florida’s Atlantic Coast since Katrina in 2005.”
The hurricane’s winds were 75 mph when it touched down.
More than 322,000 homes and businesses were without power Thursday morning, according to tracker Poweroutage.us.
Tropical storm again
By then, Nicole was moving west across the state and was hovering about 30 miles from Tampa. The sustained winds were just 50 mph at that point, but rainfall was heavy.
CNN reported that officials in Volusia County were continuing to tell folks to stay away from the beach because “the combination of Nicole’s storm surge as well as erosion caused weeks ago by Hurricane Ian are combining to leave some homes at risk of collapse.” They were worried, too, about a very high tide.
In an email to news outlets, officials said that “due to the significant wave run-up and this morning’s king tide, the shoreline waters are up to the dune lines and sea walls. Individuals must stay off the beach!”
CNN separately reported that Nicole’s storm surge at its peak was nearly six feet and water levels were still high.
Still cleaning up Ian
CBS News called Florida a “storm-weary state,” as it is still coping with the aftermath of Ian, which hit as a Category 4 storm on the state’s west coast in late September, leaving massive damage, rain-soaked soil and significant power outages. That storm also killed more than 100 people.
The article said that officials in Daytona Beach had declared at least six multistory coastal residential buildings unsafe. They had already been damaged by Ian. Authorities were telling residents to get what they needed and go.
Per CBS, Florida isn’t the only casualty. “Nicole became a hurricane Wednesday evening as it slammed into Grand Bahama Island after making landfall just hours earlier on Great Abaco island as a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. It’s the first storm to hit the Bahamas since Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm that devastated the archipelago in 2019.”
The article further noted that President Joe Biden on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in Florida and ordered federal emergency teams to help. Meanwhile, “The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is still responding to people who need help in Hurricane Ian’s wake.”