Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a State of Emergency for 34 counties ahead of Subtropical Storm Nicole. Those counties include: Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia counties.
The Division of Emergency Management is urging residents to make sure they have multiple ways to receive weather alerts and sign up for communications from their local emergency management. The Division also recommends reviewing your evacuation zone and your home’s ability to withstand heavy rain and winds.
Residents should be on the lookout for evacuation orders or shelters opening over the next 24 to 36 hours. Election Day on Tuesday may complicate preparations as public schools serve both as polling places and emergency shelters in many areas.
Subtropical Storm Nicole is likely to begin impacting Florida by Wednesday, a little over a month after Hurricane Ian impacted a large swath of the peninsula and brought devastation to the Southwest part of the state.
Though the exact point of landfall is uncertain, Nicole will land somewhere along Florida’s Atlantic coast, possibly as a Tropical Storm or a Category 1 hurricane. A hurricane watch has been issued from Broward to Brevard County, with a Tropical Storm watch as far south as Homestead and far north as Jacksonville.
Regardless of the designation, Nicole will bring significant impacts of wind, rain, storm surge and flood potential to the Atlantic coast by midweek.
Those living on the Gulf Coast should not let their guard down, however, as Nicole is expected to cross the state and enter the Gulf. Communities already made vulnerable by Hurricane Ian should prepare for the possibility of significant wind and rain. Charlotte County is urging residents with damaged roofs to install tarps if they haven’t already.
Nicole may also set back post-Ian recovery. The state’s Disaster Recovery Centers will be closed Wednesday through Friday of this week, so those affected by Hurricane Ian should plan accordingly.
Erik Gill, Communications Director for St. Lucie County, said emergency managers are urging residents to review their home insurance, clean up yard debris, have their supply kits together and secure their homes before Nicole arrives.
Gill warns residents not to get “caught up” in the cone of uncertainty, Nicole’s designation, or how late in the season the storm is coming.
“It’s a good reminder you always need to be prepared, almost year-round these days,” said Gill.
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