Hurricane Nicole, which became a Category 1 storm on Wednesday night, was rushing toward Florida’s east coast, prompting widespread preparations for damaging winds and a storm surge over a large portion of the state.
The hurricane had already struck the Bahamas on Wednesday, hitting the Abaco Islands, where people had not yet recovered from Hurricane Dorian’s 2019 destruction.
And when Nicole reached Florida, it posed a danger to areas already recovering from September’s Hurricane Ian. These repercussions include material destruction as well as the significant emotional toll suffered over a large portion of the state as Ian abruptly changed course before making landfall.
Sally Long, who had fled her home in Briny Breezes, a town in Palm Beach County, said, “I watched Hurricane Ian intently, and the destruction, the change in paths, and all the dangers that were inherent to that hurricane, and decided that we are on a barrier island in a mobile community, and we need to be safe.”
Palm Beach and Volusia Counties issued evacuation orders. At several of the state’s major airports, including Orlando and West Palm Beach, flights were cancelled. The theme parks at Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort shuttered early Wednesday.
Nicole may trigger coastal flooding, beach erosion, and localised tornadoes, so state emergency authorities recommended citizens to prepare their homes and bunker down.
“Due to the magnitude of the storm, severe wind gusts will be felt over the whole peninsula,” Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said in a briefing on Wednesday. Statewide, there is a significant danger of rip currents, he noted. Please do not enter the water under these hazardous circumstances.
Nicole’s core was projected to pass Florida, with the Gulf Stream’s warm water aiding the storm’s development into a hurricane before it reached the shore. Forecasts indicated that the storm will next move over southern Georgia on Thursday night before reaching the Carolinas on Friday. Along the coastlines of these states, meteorologists cautioned that water levels may climb several feet over usual.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm passed over the northwest Bahamas early Wednesday morning with maximum winds of 70 miles per hour. Wednesday, the East Coast could already feel the tropical storm-force gusts that extend well over 400 miles from the storm’s core.
President Biden granted federal help for 45 counties in eastern, central, and southern Florida, including Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, and the Miccosukee and Seminole Tribes.
Nicole has arrived late in what has been an atypical hurricane season, which began slowly before gaining momentum. There have been 14 named storms as of Wednesday, including seven hurricanes.
Bill Birch, a councillor of Briny Breezes, a tiny barrier island town in Palm Beach County situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, said, “It’s almost like winter up north – sometimes it just won’t let go.” Wednesday around noon, most of the town’s 600 people had left.
Many of the dwellings at Briny Breezes, a 43-acre complex of manufactured and mobile homes located between Boynton Beach and Delray Beach, are boarded up and unoccupied throughout the majority of hurricane season, as its snowbird owners spend the summer and autumn months up north. Storm season technically lasts until November 30, but most migratory residents began returning after Halloween to remove their hurricane shutters in preparation for winter.
After Natalia Giraud completed her food and essentials shopping, she walked down the beach before the weather deteriorated.
Since March, Lesya Dzygovskaya and her 15-year-old daughter Sasha have been residing in the beachfront apartment of a friend in Palm Beach, Florida, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Now, they fled their temporary residence.
Ms. Dzygovskaya said that she was learning to use the National Hurricane Center app on her mobile device and was tracking the storm on the Weather Channel. She said, “The storm is nothing compared to what my family is through in Ukraine, but it is still frightening.”
Wednesday’s high tide inundated some villages with as much as two to three feet of water. The 15-year-old Rylee Collin paddled her kayak through the streets. The water began to decrease in the afternoon, but people were aware that this was just a brief relief.
The cost of life in Briny, as stated by Rylee’s father, Travis Collin.
Wednesday morning in Kissimmee, Will Walton, 50, received a call from his insurance adjuster. He said that he had recently discovered that the damage caused by Hurricane Ian to his Kissimmee home did not satisfy his deductible. However, he said that he will deal with it later. He was filling sandbags in preparation for the next storm to safeguard his property.
Excellent, he said cynically. “A month later, we have to go through it all over again?”