Tropical Storm Nicole is digging through Florida’s Atlantic coastline, inflicting considerable structural damage and triggering mass power outages.
Nicole became the first hurricane to make landfall on the east coast of Florida since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 before quickly being downgraded to a tropical storm. Although weaker than Hurricane Ian, the Category 4 storm that barreled through the state from September into October, officials are warning Nicole has dealt a blow to coastline areas.
“This is obviously not as significant a storm as Hurricane Ian was, but coming on the heels of that, you’re seeing communities, particularly in the Volusia County area, where you had a lot of erosion along the coastline. This has put some of those structures in jeopardy,” Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Floridians during a presser Thursday.
Photos and images from the storm on social media showcase the damage it bore down on coastal areas. For example, images highlighted sections of roadway A1A that were reportedly shut down due to a collapse caused by the storm surge.
In the Daytona Beach area, multiple houses collapsed into the ocean and officials fretted that about 15 condos nearby were also at risk of succumbing to erosion at the shore, according to local officials. Residents have reportedly evacuated from the condos amid the impending threat of building collapses.
In addition to powerful waves battering the shores, flooding took root further inland as the storm dumped an estimated 5-8 inches of rain and triggered fierce winds of up to 50 mph in certain regions of the state.
Meteorologists expect the storm, which made landfall overnight, to traverse through the northeastern Gulf of Mexico before tearing across the Florida Panhandle. As it continues upon its trajectory, experts are optimistic that it will not intensify significantly.
“On the forecast track, the center of Nicole will continue to move across the west central Florida peninsula this morning and emerge over the far northeastern Gulf of Mexico this afternoon. The center should then move across the Florida Panhandle and Georgia tonight, and then move through the southeastern United States on Friday,” the National Hurricane Center said.
An estimated 350,000 residents of Florida are without power, according to Poweroutage.us. Meanwhile, airlines have canceled at least 1,220 flights traveling to or from Florida airports as of Thursday morning, according to Flightaware.com.
The damage comes as Florida continues to grapple with recovery efforts following Hurricane Ian.
Nicole was the fourth hurricane to make landfall in the mainland United States during November, according to records going back to the mid-19th century, Weather.com reported. It was the first hurricane to do so in 37 years and did so as a Category 1 storm.