Cyclone Nicole Weakens to 35 Mph After Collapsing Houses and Roads and Killing Four in Florida

After returning to Briny Breezes on Thursday, November 10, 2022, Dick and Linda Malstrom found their home flooded due to Tropical Storm Nicole. Near Vero Beach, Florida, the storm made its first hurricane-force landfall. Image by (Mike Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

What happened when Cyclone Nicole is losing strength

Typhoon The former Category 1 hurricane Nicole deteriorated into a depression and left Florida late Thursday, but evacuations, human remains, collapsed homes, roads, and piers, and four storm-related deaths were still being reported.

Hurricane Nicole hit North Hutchinson Island south of Vero Beach at 3 a.m. Thursday was a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. Nicole’s arrival six weeks after Hurricane Ian devastated coastal villages. A sea wall collapse forced Volusia County residents of a Daytona Beach Shores condominium to flee as Nicole moved to the west shore. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office reports additional buildings at risk.

Wilbur-by-the-Sea residences collapsed or barely survived the storm’s beach erosion.

“This is certainly not as major a storm as Hurricane Ian,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a press conference Thursday morning in Tallahassee, referring to the September hurricane that devastated Florida. “But after that, you’re seeing towns, particularly in Volusia County, where you had a lot of shoreline erosion. This has endangered certain structures, and they’re working hard to keep everyone safe.”

Krista Dowling Goodrich, director of sales and marketing at Salty Dog Vacations, saw the shoreline disappear behind some residences during hurricane evacuations. She tried to go there Thursday morning to check on them. “The backyard collapsed into the water while we were there. She stated it reached the home. She stated the flood also damaged the soil between adjoining large condominium structures.

Daytona Beach Shores officials went door-to-door urging residents to pack up and leave after declaring many multi-story beachfront residential complexes dangerous. WESH-Ch. 2 said that county authorities evacuated 24 Daytona Beach Shores hotels and condominiums because they were hazardous.

The lofty high-rises. “They were physically pushing the ones who wouldn’t go because it’s unsafe,” Goodrich added. “I’m afraid for the area’s infrastructure right now because after the seawalls are gone, they’re not going to just let people go back in… there will be a lot of people displaced for a while.”

Nicole’s storm surge may destroy coastlines, authorities said. The uncommon November hurricane forced airport and theme park closures and evacuations. In Flagler County north of Volusia, severe waves swept away a vital road. In St. Johns County, six miles of waterside State Road A1A are inaccessible. Nicole’s storm surge and high tide collapsed St. Augustine’s Coastal Highway.

At a press conference Thursday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings reported four Nicole-related deaths. A downed electrical wire electrocuted two suburban Orlando residents. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said that a man was discovered dead outside his automobile and a lady riding with him died at the hospital after hitting a power wire in Conway, southeast of Orlando. News4Jax said that another guy was hospitalized after being stunned by a downed electrical wire in flooding St. Augustine.

Demings said a Thursday morning Florida Turnpike collision in the county killed two more persons. Nicole’s winds uncovered human remains on Hutchinson Island’s shore. In a Facebook post, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office reported finding six bodies from a nearby Native American burial site. Brevard County had 52,000 outages Thursday night.

As the storm’s wind field moved north, South Florida’s sun returned Thursday morning. Lauderdale-by-the-Pier Sea’s Anglin’s was destroyed and coastal areas inundated. Tropical Depression Nicole was 20 miles north of Tallahassee at 10 p.m., heading northwest at 15 mph with 35-mph winds.

The newest National Hurricane Center advisory predicts Nicole will reach southern Georgia and western Carolinas on Friday. It should vanish Friday night.

The Flagler/Volusia county boundary in Florida from Aripeka to Indian Pass was under tropical storm and storm surge warnings. Storm surge warnings included the Flagler/Volusia county border to Altamaha Sound, the mouth of the St. Johns River to Georgetown, and the Anclote River to the Ochlockonee River.

According to the National Hurricane Center’s five-day prediction map, the Atlantic remains storm-free after Thursday’s rare November hurricane. Hurricane season concludes on Nov. 30.

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