Pointing to an “abundance of caution,” Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in 34 counties as Subtropical Storm Nicole threatened to develop into a hurricane and hit Florida’s East Coast.
A hurricane warning was issued for the Bahamas, and a hurricane watch was in effect from Hallandale Beach to the border of Brevard and Volusia counties.
The storm is expected to approach the Florida coast Wednesday night, according to the hurricane center.
“Hurricane conditions are expected in the northwest Bahamas within the hurricane warning area by early Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions expected elsewhere in the northwest Bahamas by Tuesday night,” a 4 p.m. advisory from the center said. “Hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area in Florida by Wednesday night with tropical storm conditions possible by Tuesday night or early Wednesday.”
The hurricane center said the storm could bring storm surge to much of the state’s East Coast and heavy rains and potential flooding across many parts of the state.
The governor’s order covered 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.
Florida Power & Light, which provides electricity on most of the East Coast, said it had activated its emergency-response plan and said it was preparing for “widespread outages.”
The utility also said the storm has the potential to topple trees weakened in Hurricane Ian, which made landfall Sept. 28 in Southwest Florida and caused damage across the state.
“We recognize our customers are experiencing storm season fatigue after Hurricane Ian, but it’s important to be vigilant and focused as this storm approaches,” Eric Silagy, chairman, and CEO of FPL, said in a prepared statement. “Ian saturated soil and weakened trees in many parts of the state, so Nicole could cause trees to topple over and other vegetation and debris to blow into overhead power lines and equipment, which may cause outages. We know our customers are counting on us and we are following our proven plan to be ready to respond safely and as quickly as possible.”
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