TERRY SPENCER and FREIDA FRISARO (Associated Press)
VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Tropical Storm Nicole hit Florida as Hurricane on Thursday, washing away the remaining protection of a string of beachfront properties that lost their breakwaters during Hurricane Ian weeks earlier. At Daytona Beach Shores, the rushing seawater threatened the foundations of at least 10 high-rise condos and homes.
Nicole is still a sprawling tropical storm that blanketed nearly all of weather-weary Florida early Thursday morning, reaching even Georgia and Carolina. Crushing winds extended up to 450 miles (720 kilometers) from the center in some directions as Nicole headed north through central Florida on Thursday morning.
Krista Dowling Goodrich, director of sales and marketing for Salty Dog Vacations, who manages 130 rental homes at Daytona Beach Shores, says beachfronts disappear behind some properties as evacuations progress. I witnessed the
“While we were there, the entire backyard started collapsing into the sea. It went all the way to the house,” she said. The water has also endangered remaining land between rows of nearby high-rise apartments, she said.
Officials at the Daytona Beach Shores have declared multiple coastal high-rises unsafe and went door-to-door telling people to take their belongings and leave.
“These were tall skyscrapers, which meant that people who didn’t want to leave were being physically kicked out because they weren’t safe,” Goodrich said. “I am now worried about the infrastructure in the area, because without the breakwater, people will not be able to re-enter…many people will be displaced for some time.”
A rare November hurricane has forced authorities to close airports and theme parks and order evacuations in areas that include former President Donald Trump’s Club Mar-a-Lago. Officials have warned that Nicole’s storm surge could further erode many of the beaches he was hit by Hurricane Ian in September.
Nicole made landfall near Vero Beach around 3 a.m. Thursday as a Category 1 hurricane, more than 100 miles south of the Daytona Beach shore, according to the Miami-based center. The storm was centered about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Orlando. It was traveling west-northwest at nearly 22 kilometers (14 miles) per hour.
Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, advised people to understand that the danger from Tropical Storm Nicole “is present all over Florida today.” Nicole Kakam could make a brief appearance in the northeastern corner of the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday afternoon before moving to the Florida Panhandle and Georgia, he said.
The storm has moved north through South Florida while remaining clear and mild, but could bring up to 6 inches (15 cm) of rain to the Blue Ridge Mountains by Friday, according to the Hurricane Center.
Forecasters said several tornadoes could form across eastern central and northeastern Florida through early Thursday morning. Flash floods and urban flooding are likely on Thursday with fresh surges in the St. Johns River across the Florida peninsula. Heavy rain will move northward through Saturday, spreading across the eastern Ohio Valley, mid-Atlantic, and New England.
Nicole hit Grand Bahama Island in a hurricane Wednesday night. This is the first to hit the Bahamas since Hurricane He Dorian, a Category 5 storm that devastated the archipelago in 2019.
For storm-weary Floridians, it was the third November hurricane to hit the coast since record-keeping began in 1853. The previous hurricanes were the 1935 Yankee Hurricane and his 1985 Hurricane Kate.
Trump’s club and home, Mar-a-Lago, was in one of the evacuation zones built about 400 meters inland from the sea. The main building sits on a small hill about 15 feet (4.6 meters) above sea level and has survived many powerful hurricanes since it was built nearly a century ago. The resort’s security office hung up on Wednesday when an Associated Press reporter asked if the club was being evacuated, and there were no signs of an evacuation by Wednesday afternoon.
There are no penalties for ignoring evacuation orders, but rescue teams will not respond if members are in danger.
Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort announced Thursday that the parks will likely not open as scheduled.
A state of emergency has been declared in 45 of Florida’s 67 counties. President Joe Biden also approved a state of emergency declaration for Florida’s Seminole tribes and ordered federal aid to tribal nations. The tribe also owns the Hard Rock Cafe franchise, and several of its hotels and casinos are on Nicole’s Alley.
At a press conference in Tallahassee on Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said wind was the biggest concern and could lead to major blackouts, but 16,000 linemen were on standby to restore power. He said that
“It will affect most of Florida all day long,” DeSantis said of the storm’s expected landfall.
Nearly 20 school districts have closed schools due to the storm and 15 shelters have opened along Florida’s east coast, according to the Florida governor.
Parts of Florida were devastated by Hurricane Ian. Ian destroyed homes and damaged crops, including orange groves, across the state. A damage that many are still dealing with, it sent storm surges up to 13 feet (4 meters) onto the coast and caused widespread destruction.
Frisaro reported from Fort Lauderdale.
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https://www.thereporteronline.com/2022/11/10/sprawling-tropical-storm-nicole-drenching-florida-georgia/ Vast Tropical Storm Nicole drenches Florida, Georgia – thereporteronline