Thousands of residents have been asked to evacuate parts of South Florida as Tropical Storm Nicole approaches the state’s east coast.
Mandatory evacuations are in place for two zones in Palm Beach County, with many other voluntary evacuations in place for those in the state’s barrier islands and low-lying areas.
“Palm Beach County is announcing evacuations for Zone A and B,” Palm Beach County Mayor Robert Weinroth said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference. “This includes mobile homes, barrier islands, and low-lying areas.”
— Palm Beach County (@pbcgov) November 8, 2022
Palm Beach County remains under a hurricane warning. Emergency shelters have been opened at several local public schools across the area.
“In anticipation of Tropical Storm Nicole, and consistent with all county offices, all county-operated parks, beaches and recreational facilities will be closed on Wednesday, November 9 and Thursday, November 10,” according to the county.
Palm Beach County’s school district is closed through Wednesday, and Palm Beach Atlantic University will be closed through Friday.
Palm Beach County is not the only area shutting down due to the storm threat. Officials in Volusia County issued mandatory evacuations for people east of the Intracoastal Waterway.
“Storm surge of 3 to 5 feet is expected, possibly higher in some areas. Rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected, with peak amounts up to 8 inches of rain,” a Wednesday Volusia County update read. “The probability for Tropical Storm winds has increased with a small chance of hurricane force winds. Coastal Volusia can expect wind gusts up to 60 to 70 mph, with slightly decreasing intensity of winds further inland. Timing of the arrival of tropical force winds is about 3 p.m. today.”
Voluntary evacuations are also in place for St. Johns County, including St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach, along with other counties along the eastern coast of the state.
Orlando International Airport, the state’s busiest airport, also announced on social media that it will shut down operations beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday due to expected weather concerns.
“We will continue to monitor Tropical Storm Nicole to determine the potential impact at MCO,” the account read. “We ask you to please continue to work with your airline directly in regards to your specific flights.”
Operational Update – Tropical Storm Nicole
Reminder: Today at 4 pm, commercial operations will cease at our airport. We'll continue to monitor the storm's path and we'll post updates as they become available. Please contact your airline for specific flight information.
— Orlando International Airport (@MCO) November 9, 2022
Many residents across Florida are still recovering from Hurricane Ian, which struck the Gulf Coast at the end of September. The storm devastated Fort Myers Beach, destroying the pier. The causeway to Sanibel Island was also destroyed.
Ian moved across the state and up the eastern side of Florida where it returned to hurricane strength and slammed into the Carolina coast. More than 100 people were killed in Florida and North Carolina during the hurricane.