Thu, Nov 10, 2022 1:54 PM
By Bethany Blankley, The Center Square
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday expanded the state of emergency to all 67 counties in light of the changing path of Tropical Storm Nicole.
On Thursday morning, Hurricane Nicole made landfall as a Category 1 Hurricane near Vero Beach. As of 10:00 am, Nicole was downgraded to a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.
The storm has exited the Florida peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico, DeSantis said during a press briefing Thursday, but it’s expected to reenter Florida in the Big Bend region.
“The impacts stretch far beyond the center track of the storm,” he said, with much of the state being impacted by heavy winds. Some areas have seen 3-5 foot storm surges and flash flooding, he said, as well as beach erosion, especially in areas that already saw erosion after Hurricane Ian.
DeSantis issued a state of emergency for 34 counties Monday ahead of the storm making landfall.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management, in coordination with the National Hurricane Center, is continuing to evaluate weather predictions and has determined there is a continuing risk of dangerous storm surge, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, strong winds, hazardous seas, and isolated tornadic activity. It says that timely precautions are needed to restore the impacted communities, infrastructure, and the general welfare of Florida.
There are currently 17,000 linemen staged to immediately begin power restoration efforts when it’s safe to do so, DeSantis said. At least 600 Florida National Guardsmen and women have been activated, and seven Urban Search and Rescue teams were on standby to deploy, along with crews from other state agencies.
So far, 61 school districts were closed today, DeSantis said, and schools are also closed tomorrow for Veteran’s Day.
Coming on the heals of Hurricane Ian, DeSantis said, the state and local communities are working hard to make sure Floridians and structures remain safe.
FDEM said emergency response teams have been working for 48 days straight and are continuing to coordinate with local officials. It’s also advising residents to follow weather warning alerts and instructions of local officials.
Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Taylor, Madison, Lafayette, Hamilton, Suwanee, Columbia, Union, Baker, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, Alachua, Bradford, Clay, Putnam, Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Flagler, Marion, Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Lake, Sumter, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Polk, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, Hendry, Glades, Highlands, Hardee, DeSoto, Broward, Palm Beach, Okeechobee, Osceola, Orange, and Seminole counties.
Storm Surge Warnings are in effect for Brevard, Citrus, Clay, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Hernando, Indian River, Jefferson, Levy, Martin, Nassau, Pasco, Putnam, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Taylor, Volusia, and Wakulla counties.
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Franklin County.
A Flood Watch is in effect for Nassau, Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Flagler, Putnam, Marion, Sumter, Volusia, Brevard, Orange, Seminole, Lake, Osceola, Indian River, Polk Hardee, DeSoto, Highlands, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, and Martin counties.
An extensive list of agency storm response as well as road and other closures can be found here.