Florida under state of emergency as Subtropical Storm Nicole threatens to become hurricane

Floridians must “be prepared” following the formation of a subtropical storm, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday as he declared a state of emergency.

The declaration covers 34 counties — including the state’s biggest in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach — with forecasts predicting Subtropical Storm Nicole to strengthen into a hurricane before it strikes Florida this week.

“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,” DeSantis said.

Nicole was centered about 465 miles east of the Bahamas on Monday afternoon, registering 45 mile per hour wind speeds.

The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch covering more than 200 miles along Florida’s east coast, where Nicole is expected to arrive Wednesday.

“Do not focus on the exact track of Nicole since it is expected to be a large storm with hazards extending well to the north of the center, and outside of the cone, and affect much of the Florida peninsula and portions of the southeast U.S.,” the National Hurricane Center said.

The anticipated arrival of Nicole comes less than two months after Hurricane Ian devastated Florida as a Category 4 storm, killing more than 100 people in the state and causing catastrophic flooding.

Nicole could bring rainfall up to 8 inches that’s capable of causing flooding and power outages in Volusia County, where Daytona Beach is located, officials said.

“We need to take this storm very seriously because it could cause more coastal erosion, which could be devastating to our beachfront properties impacted by Hurricane Ian,” said Jim Judge, the county’s emergency director.

With News Wire Services