- Tropical Storm Nicole is expected to make landfall in Florida as a hurricane later tonight
- Governor DeSantis noted on Wednesday morning that linemen and Florida National Guard members remain on standby
- He also warned Floridians to expect power outages
- The update comes two days after DeSantis declared a State of Emergency for 34 counties
Tropical Storm Nicole is forecast to intensify into a hurricane on Wednesday as it barrels towards Florida’s east coast.
As of 12 p.m.., Nicole has made landfall on Great Abaco Island in the northwestern Bahamas and is less than 200 miles east of West Palm Beach. The storm boasted near-hurricane-level winds at 70 mph and was moving west at 12 mph.
Nicole is forecast to make landfall in Florida as a hurricane shortly after midnight near Port St. Lucie, the US National Hurricane Center said. Forecasters say impacts include prolonged coastal flooding, beach erosion, strong winds, high surf, heavy rain and tornadoes that could impact other parts of the Southeast as well as the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
In Wednesday morning update, Governor Ron DeSantis said that the most recent track shows that Nicole will make landfall in Martin County as a Category 1 storm before exiting in the Gulf of Mexico and making landfall again in the Panhandle.
“[Nicole] will move through the state, exit into the Gulf of Mexico, and then make landfall again somewhere in the Big Bend region in North Florida,” DeSantis said.
In anticipation of landfall, DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Nov. 7 for 34 counties in the potential path of Nicole. DeSantis said he issued the EO in an “abundance of caution” so that communities can prepare and Floridians can create a plan to gather necessary resources in the event that Nicole gains in strength.
The governor added that Florida remains in communication with utility companies across the state. 16,000 linemen stand ready to restore power, with Florida Power & Light (FPL), Duke Energy Florida and other utility companies preemptively activating emergency response plans earlier this week for rapid restoration.
“These folks are staged, and they will obviously proceed to do a restoration as rapidly as possible,” he added.
DeSantis also said that 600 Florida National Guard members have been activated and several search and rescue teams were put on standby.