Florida residents, many of whom are still recovering from Hurricane Ian, are picking up the pieces after this week’s storm, which killed at least five people and tore apart buildings with its unsafe storm surge and powerful winds. Nicole is expected to intimidate the Carolinas and Virginia on Friday with tornadoes and flash floods.
Following Hurricane Nicole, which struck Florida’s eastern coast south of Vero Beach as a Category 1 hurricane early Thursday before loosening into a tropical storm and then a depression, at least 49 beachfront properties, including hotels and condos, have been deemed “unsafe” in Volusia County, Florida.
According to Volusia County Manager George Recktenwald, “the structural damage along our shoreline is unparalleled,” and “additional buildings will probably be classified as damaged.”
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The Storm Prediction Center reports that a tornado watch is in force until 3 p.m. Friday for parts of central and eastern North Carolina, northeastern South Carolina, and central and eastern Virginia as Nicole heads to the northeast.
Buildings along Florida’s coast that had already been damaged by Ian—the first hurricane to strike the US in November in almost 40 years—were made considerably more vulnerable by coastal erosion. In advance of Nicole’s arrival, deputies went door to door Wednesday evacuating individuals from unsafe buildings in Volusia County.
22 residences in Wilbur-By-The-Sea, a barrier island neighborhood near Daytona Beach, were evacuated beforehand after being judged unsafe by authorities. A few coastal homes then fell into the water in Nicole’s vicinity. When Trip Valigorsky opened the front door to his house, he discovered that his living room had been replaced by a gaping hole that led to the thundering waves of the ocean.
He indicated the location of the old sofa and television while expressing disbelief to CNN affiliate WKMG. When Valigorsky woke up on Wednesday morning, the wall was gone, so he began to evacuate. “I was here Tuesday night and I kind of watched the wall collapse,” he said. And here we are right now.
Nicole also pushed a significant amount of water onshore, destroying the infrastructure that Ian had already put under stress. On Thursday morning, the storm surge reached its height of about 6 feet, flooding neighborhoods with rising ocean water. This week’s full moon caused unusually high tides, which were topped by a smaller surge, which kept water levels high for longer.
Drone footage from the storm’s aftermath revealed that homes almost hung off cliffs and hotels in Daytona Beach collapsed into the water. “The destruction is nearly incomprehensible. Imagine your house disintegrating into the water, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood tweeted.
Tornado Watches in the Carolinas and Virginia
According to CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen, Nicole is currently weakening as it moves through Georgia and toward the Carolinas, but it still poses a threat. The almost 13 million people in central and eastern North Carolina, northeastern South Carolina, and central and eastern Virginia—including, respectively, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Virginia Beach—are under the tornado watch that is in force as of Friday.
The Storm Prediction Core stated that the tornado threat, which is located well northeast of Nicole’s center, “is predicted to significantly increase northward/inland until early/mid-afternoon.” It also potential to get isolated 70 mph severe wind gusts. Wind warnings affect more than 20 million people from Georgia to the Carolinas, and localized flash flooding is a possibility from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic to western New York.
According to CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam, up to 4 inches of rain are expected through the weekend in areas like Jacksonville, Florida; Roanoke, Virginia; Pittsburgh; and Syracuse, New York. As the system merges with a frontal barrier over the eastern United States, it is anticipated to diminish Friday night.
Today’s GOES-E GeoColor satellite imagery is rather impressive, helping to show the two main weather stories across the country. Tropical Storm Nicole is currently impacting the Southeast, and a strong cyclone in the Northern Plains is bringing a major winter storm to the area. pic.twitter.com/nc0OTsZ0Lz
— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) November 10, 2022
Nicole’s tropical moisture will be absorbed by a different cold front that brought blizzard conditions to the northern Plains as Nicole’s remnants speed northward on Friday through Saturday, according to Van Dam.
Traveling along the Interstate 95 corridor will be challenging due to the persistent rain and high winds that exceed 30 mph. As the storm goes through, it’s expected that many airports on the East Coast may have delays for air travel.
5 Deaths were Reported as Much Still Lacked Power
Schools and institutions closed, hundreds of flights were canceled, airports stopped operating, and some coastal residents were evacuated as the enormous storm moved into Florida. Nicole caused flooding in the streets, damage to the roads and residences, and hundreds of power outages. According to PowerOutage.us, the number of consumers in Florida who had outages earlier that day had decreased to more than 36,000 by late Friday morning.
According to a news release from the sheriff’s office, two people in Orange County perished after being “electrocuted by a downed power line.” Following a tragic auto collision, two more deaths are being looked into as possible storm-related, according to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.
A 68-year-old man from Port Canaveral who was on a yacht early on Thursday morning as it was “being pounded by the seas and the pier” was also killed, according to the Cocoa Police Department. Rescuers transported the couple to a hospital after the man’s wife dialed 911 to report that her husband was in trouble. Police stated that he was later declared dead and that the cause of death has not yet been established.
Residents returning to their homes in the wake of the hurricane must navigate a number of risks, including downed power lines and flooded streets. Crews are working to clear the roads of debris and make emergency repairs to washed-out roads.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday morning that the state of emergency had been expanded to include all counties “simply because we’re not sure of the scope of the damages, in Northwest Florida in particular.”
Keep following lakecountyfloridanews.com for more updates like this.