TALLAHASSEE — Floridians across the state should expect tropical storm-force winds, heavy rains and potential tornadoes after Tropical Storm Nicole made morning landfall as a Category 1 hurricane, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday.
“Impacts have been basically what’s been expected,” DeSantis said during a news conference at the state’s emergency operations center in Tallahassee. “You do have downed trees, you have power lines, you have some road washouts, combined winds and storm surge.”
The storm’s cold outer rain bands could create tornadoes, with the most recent one recorded about 8:30 a.m. in St. Johns County, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said. Floridians who receive a weather alert for a tornado should shelter in an interior part of their home, he said.
More than 50 counties were under a tropical storm warning Thursday morning, a number that is expected to drop as Nicole moves across the state. The storm made landfall just south of Vero Beach overnight and was quickly downgraded to a tropical storm. It’s expected to exit the state in the Gulf of Mexico before re-entering in Florida’s Big Bend region.
Roughly 330,000 homes and businesses were without power Thursday morning, DeSantis said.
“This is obviously not as significant a storm as Hurricane Ian was,” he said.
But some communities, particularly in Volusia County, were still dealing with flooding and beach erosion, which has put some buildings along the coast “in jeopardy,” DeSantis said.