Hurricane Nicole: Floridians pick up the pieces after the storm kills at least 4 people and collapses homes as it moves north

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CNN

Floridians pick up the pieces after Nicholas slammed into the state on Thursday, killing at least four people, tearing buildings apart and leaving some homes unlivable as it slammed in dangerous storm surge and powerful winds.

Nicole hit Florida’s east coast just south of Vero Beach as a Category 1 hurricane early in the morning before weakening to a tropical storm and then a depression. He arrived while the state was still reeling from a disaster Hurricane Ianwhich has carved a path of destruction across Florida after hitting the West Coast just weeks ago.

Nicole was the first hurricane to hit the United States in November in nearly 40 years.

As the colossal storm approached, schools and universities closed, hundreds of flights were canceled, airports halted operations and some coastal residents were evacuated.

After Nicole passed, streets were flooded, roads and homes were damaged, and thousands of people were left without power. More than 300,000 customers in Florida were affected by outages earlier. That number had fallen to more than 73,000 by Thursday evening, according to PowerOutage.us.

Two people have died after being “electrocuted by a downed power line” in Orange County, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Two additional deaths are being investigated as possibly storm-related after a fatal car crash, according to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

Downed power lines in flooded streets are among a host of hazards residents must navigate in the hurricane’s wake as they return home, and crews are working to clear debris from roads and carry out repairs. emergency on washed out roads.

Nicole weakened into a depression on Thursday evening, according to a 10 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center. The declining storm is tracking north and is expected to move into southwestern Georgia Thursday and Friday, then across the western Carolinas later Friday.

Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has extended a state of emergency to all counties “simply because we’re not sure of the extent of the impacts, especially in northwest Florida. “, he said Thursday morning.

In Volusia County, at least 49 beachfront properties, including hotels and condos, have been deemed “unsafe” as a result of Nicole.

“The structural damage along our coastline is unprecedented,” County Executive George Recktenwald said at a news conference, adding that more buildings are likely to be identified as compromised.

Coastal buildings battered by Ian were further compromised by coastal erosion as the storm approached, prompting deputies to go door to door on Wednesday to evacuate residents of structurally unsound buildings in Volusia County ahead of the storm. arrival of Nicole.

As the storm battered the area, beachfront homes in Wilbur-By-The-Sea — a barrier island community off Daytona Beach — collapsed into the ocean.

Resident Trip Valigorsky unlocked the front door of his home to see a gaping hole leading to the crashing ocean waves where his living room once stood. He indicated where the television and the couch were.

He was in shock, he said Affiliated with CNN WKMG.

“I was here Tuesday night and kind of saw the wall deteriorating, and then I woke up Wednesday morning and the wall was completely gone, so I started evacuating,” Valigorsky said. “And now here we are.”

A day earlier, 22 homes in the barrier island community were evacuated after authorities deemed them unsafe.

Nicole pushed a huge volume of water ashore, tearing up infrastructure already strained by Ian.

The storm surge peaked at around 6ft on Thursday morning, sending seawater up the streets and pushing ashore above exceptionally high tides associated with the full moon this week.

Drone video showed homes almost hanging from cliffs and hotels in Daytona Beach collapsing into the ocean in the wake of the storm.

“The devastation is almost impossible to comprehend – imagine watching your house crumble into the ocean,” said Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood. tweeted.

Nicole, now a tropical depression with peak winds of 35 mph, is moving 20 miles north of Tallahassee, Fla., according to a 10 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is expected to weaken over the next two days as it moves through southwest Georgia and then through the western Carolinas. Nicole will likely become a post-tropical cyclone on Friday, according to CNN meteorologist Gene Norman.

The system is expected to dissipate as it merges with a frontal boundary over the eastern United States on Friday evening.

Still, Nicole is expected to produce significant precipitation as it moves north, possibly causing flash and urban flooding in parts of the Florida peninsula, with further river flooding on the St. Johns River.

Localized flash flooding is also possible over a wide area from the southeast, mid-Atlantic to western New York.

Up to 4 inches of rain is likely in cities such as Jacksonville, Roanoke, Pittsburgh and Syracuse over the weekend, according to CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

As the remnants of Hurricane Nicole track north Friday through Saturday, its tropical moisture will be picked up by a separate cold front that is currently producing blizzard conditions across the northern plains, Van Dam said.

Heavy rain and wind gusts over 30 miles per hour will make travel along the I-95 corridor difficult. Meanwhile, air travel will likely be disrupted at many east coast airports as the storm moves on.

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