Tropical storm Nicole: Spins towards Florida and forces evacuation, expected to make landfall on East coast

Evacuation orders went into effect on November 9 and people from low-lying, barrier islands in Flagler, Palm Beach, and Volusia were evacuated

Tropical storm Nicole: Spins towards Florida and forces evacuation, expected to make landfall on East coast
Martin County witnesses multiple breaches as Florida braces for Tropical storm Nicole expected to make landfall Thursday morning along East Coast (Martin County Fire Rescue/ Twitter)
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MIAMI, FLORIDA: Tropical storm Nicole is fast spinning towards Florida, getting stronger on its way, and is expected to rise to a Category 1 hurricane and make a rare landfall along the EastCoast on Thursday morning, November 10, suggests multiple forecasts, reports, and weather channels tracking the storm.

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On Wednesday, November 9 the evacuation orders went into effect and people from low-lying, barrier islands and mobile homes in Flagler, Palm Beach, and Volusia were ordered to evacuate. Nicole in the meanwhile was located 60 miles east northeast of Great Abaco Island and about 240 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida. With maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, the storm was moving at 13 mph. 

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Dozens of people from vulnerable locations in the northwestern Bahamas have also evacuated and more than 520 people were in the more than two dozen shelters. Flooding and power outages were reported in Abaco ahead of the storm's arrival, reported NEWS4JAX. “We are forecasting it to become a hurricane as it nears the northwestern Bahamas, and remain a hurricane as it approaches the east coast of Florida," Daniel Brown, a senior hurricane specialist at the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, said on Wednesday.

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Nicole is the first storm to hit the Bahamas since Hurricane Dorian, a devastating Category 5 storm that struck the archipelago in 2019, before hitting storm-weary Florida on Wednesday night and moving into Georgia on Thursday.

As people were forced to evacuate their homes, the airports also issued closure orders in advance, which included Orlando International Airport, the seventh busiest in the US. It was expected to close at 4 pm. The other airports included Palm Beach International Airport, and Daytona Beach International Airport. The Lauderdale-Hollywood and Miami International Airports were witnessing flight delays.

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The storm as per multiple reports could intensify into a rare November hurricane before hitting Florida, where only two — the 1935 Yankee Hurricane and Hurricane Kate in 1985 -- have made landfall. New warnings and watches were issued for many parts of Florida, including the southwestern Gulf coastline which was devastated by Hurricane Ian, which struck as a Category 4 storm on September 28. Ian lashed much of the central region of Florida with heavy rainfall, causing flooding that many residents are still dealing with as Nicole approaches Brown said the storm will affect a large part of the state.

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AccuWeather forecasters have rated Nicole a 1 on the AccuWeather RealImpact Scale for Hurricanes due to the dangers of a damaging storm surge, high winds, and flooding rainfall. Impacts will also occur for a long duration since hazardous conditions will hammer parts of the state for as much as 48 hours. It further states, "A storm surge is likely to be one of the most damaging aspects of Nicole. A water level rise of 3-6 feet is forecast with locally higher levels, and that rise will occur not only on waters near where Nicole makes landfall along the central portion of the Florida east coast but also in areas hundreds of miles farther north".

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On early Wednesday, President Joe Biden declared an emergency in Florida and ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal, and local response efforts to the approaching storm.

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