Floridians form huge queues at gas stations and panic buying kicks in at stores as ‘threat to life’ Tropical Storm Nicole verges on HURRICANE status with 70mph winds hitting Bahamas
- Floridians have spent the last couple of days panic buying for essential supplies as Tropical Storm Nicole is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane
- The storm, which is over the Bahamas as of Wednesday morning, is forecasted to strike the Sunshine State on in the coming hours
- Counties across the coastline have since issued evacuations orders, including the areas near Orlando and Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate
- Officials warned that although the storm will only be a Category 1 storm , it will cause severe damage as the state is still recovering from Hurricane Ian
Florida residents are bracing themselves for Tropical Storm Nicole, which is set to become a Category 1 hurricane when it hits the Sunshine State on Wednesday.
The National Weather Service said the storm, which has reached winds up to 70 mph, is at ‘very near hurricane strength’ as it strikes the Bahamas overnight.
In Florida, residents living along the coast and in flood-prone areas from Palm Beach County to Volusia County have been ordered to evacuate ahead of a potential touchdown from the storm.
Residents have spent the last couple of days rushing to stock up on gas and essentials as they prepare for the worst.
Officials in Volusia, which is located near Orlando, said that while the storm is only expected to reach Category 1 strength, it will likely cause severe damage to the area, which is still recovering from Hurricane Ian.
‘Tropical Storm Nicole poses a direct threat to property and life,’ County Manager George Recktenwald said in a statement. ‘Our infrastructure, especially along the coastline, is extremely vulnerable because of Hurricane Ian’s impacts.
‘Residents need to take this storm seriously.’
Among the areas included in the evacuation orders was former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, where daughter Tiffany Trump, 29, is set to wed her billionaire beau Michael Boulos, 25.
Residents in Orlando have spent the last couple of days shopping for essential supplies as Tropical Storm Nicole is expected to become a Hurricane when it hits Florida on Wednesday
Gas lines were also packed, with counties along the state’s coastline issuing evacuation orders for Wednesday when the 70-plus mph wind storm hits
Pictured: Inmates from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office placing sandbags along the coastline to protect roads from flooding
High winds have been pelting Florida’s shores as the tropical storm preps for landfall
Pictured: Tropical Storm Nicole on Tuesday as it continues to gain power
The storm’s wind field, shown on the hurricane center’s map in dark yellow, is extremely large – indicating that wherever Nicole strikes, its winds, rain, and storm surge will be felt along virtually all 1,350 miles of the state’s Atlantic coastline.
The evacuation areas in Palm Beach cover the county’s zones A and B, which includes barrier islands, low-lying areas, and mobile home communities, and was issued on Election Day – with rain and winds already seen in the Southeast part of the state are not expected to affect any voting sites.
Also included in the evacuation notice, issued by County Mayor Robert Weinroth at a 2 pm news conference, was nearly all of the county’s coastline – home to several beachside locales in cities such as Boca Raton and Boynton Beach.
The evacuations, which go into effect 7am Wednesday, applies to nearly 120,000 residents – 52,000 of them living in mobile homes throughout the county and 67,000 along the coast, officials warned during the conference.
The county has since closed all 236 of its public school and announced that shelters will open at seven of them in their stead once the evacuation is underway. In total, nine shelters will be available for the public to use.
The area at the most risk is the northeastern part of the county, which includes West Palm Beach. However, officials have also issued a hurricane warning extending from Palm Beach County all the way up to Volusia County, near Orlando.
A hurricane warning indicates a high chance of winds of 74 mph or greater within the next 36 hours. The tempest strengthened to a tropical storm Tuesday morning as its winds reached 50mph – a number officials warned could double in parts of Palm Beach and neighboring Broward County by the time the storm hits Wednesday.
In those areas, officials warned, rain and flooding could cause water to enter buildings and close roads in parts of both counties, with Broward directly to the south of Palm Beach, The National Weather Service said in its most recent update.
The service even warned that tornadoes may also be possible in Palm Beach County from Wednesday into Thursday morning, as the storm burgeons into what experts say could end up a Category-1 or even a Category-2 hurricane as conditions pick up.
The storm is expected to make landfall along Florida’s coast as a Category 1 hurricane late Wednesday or early Thursday, spurring wary residents to take necessary precautions
Also included in the evacuation notice, issued by County Mayor Robert Weinroth at a 2 pm news conference, was nearly all of the county’s coastline – home to several beachside locales in cities such as Boca Raton and Boynton Beach
The expected inclement weather threatening to throw a monkey wrench into Tiffany Trump’s planned wedding, to be held in Mar-a-Lago. The 29-year-old is set to wed her billionaire beau Michael Boulos, 25, at her father’s sprawling estate (pictured) on Saturday, November 12
Residents living along the coast and in flood-prone areas in Palm Beach County were ordered to evacuate ahead of the storm’s expected landfall. It applies to nearly 120,000 residents – 52,000 of them living in mobile homes and 67,000 along the coast, officials said Wednesday
The unwelcome prospect of a November hurricane comes just weeks after Hurricane Ian unleashed devastation on the Gulf coast and Central Florida in September, claiming the lives of at least 120 residents.
This time around, officials are especially wary, with the unique, late-season storm set to slam the coast Wednesday night, bringing with it storm surges and potential flooding.
‘With Nicole´s structure beginning to take on more tropical characteristics, strengthening is likely to commence later today,’ the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.
A range of alerts remain in place in coastal cities such as Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, as the National Weather Service warned Tuesday that ‘life-threatening’ storm surge is possible along the neighboring Broward and Palm Beach county coasts.
Storm surge, the wind-driven rise in sea levels that accounted for many of the deaths when Hurricane Ian hit the opposite coast in September, could reach 2 to 4 feet in South Florida and be ‘accompanied by ‘large and destructive waves,’ the center said.
The effects of the strengthening storm could already be seen in the region Monday night. The entire east coast is likely to face high winds, heavy rain, and ‘life threatening’ storm surge
Residents braved torrential rains Monday niught to stock up on supplies ahead of Tropical Storm Nicole’s expected landfall Wednesday, after officials issued a hurricane alert for the region
A range of warnings and watches remain in place. Areas are still reeling from damage caused by Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida’s southwestern coast as a Category 4 storm in September
With Ian still fresh in their minds, residents stocked up on water and other supplies in preparation for the potential hurricane, which strengthened to a tropical storm Tuesday
Orlando and the aforementioned counties are currently under hurricane watch, as well as the dozens of counties littering and near the state’s east coast, who are all poised to see inclement weather conditions for much of the rest of the week.
Hurricane warnings were in effect for the Abacos, Berry Islands, Bimini and Grand Bahama Island, the advisory said. Other areas of the Bahamas, including Andros Island, New Province and Eleuthera remained under a tropical storm warning.
The hurricane center said the storm’s track shifted slightly north overnight, but the exact path remains uncertain.
It is expected to make landfall along Florida’s coast as a Category 1 hurricane late Wednesday or early Thursday.
In the U.S., tropical storm warnings and hurricane watches were issued for much of Florida’s Atlantic coastline north of Miami, to Altamaha Sound, Georgia.
The warning area stretches inland, covering Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, with tropical storm watches in effect on the state’s Gulf Coast – from Bonita Beach in southwest Florida to the Ochlockonee River in the Panhandle.
On Monday Florida governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for half of the state’s counties.
‘While this storm does not, at this time, appear that it will become much stronger, I urge all Floridians to be prepared and to listen to announcements from local emergency management officials,’ he said.
After pelting the Sunshine State, the storm is expected to continue north into Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.