Nicole: DeSantis expands state of emergency to all 67 counties; school districts closed

By: - November 10, 2022 2:37 pm

Gov. Ron DeSantis provides an update on Tropical Storm Nicole at a press conference on Nov. 10, 2022. Credit: Issac Morgan

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday expanded a state of emergency order to include all of Florida’s 67 counties, as Tropical Storm Nicole forges a path of power outages, strong winds, dangerous storm surges and heavy rainfall.

School districts across Florida are closed, as well as several seaports and airports, among other closures.

Earlier, DeSantis had issued an executive order for 34 counties, but with the storm moving across the state and into north Florida, DeSantis announced that the entire state would be under an emergency order.

“This morning as of an abundance of caution we have expanded that to all counties just simply because we are not sure the extent of the impacts in northwest Florida in particular,” the governor said during a morning news conference at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.

He said the storm is expected to hit the Big Bend region in North Florida.

In addition, the governor said more than 300,000 accounts are without power.

The Republican governor, who recently was reelected, didn’t take any questions from the media at the press conference in Tallahassee.

“We’re ready and we have resources to respond to whatever post-storm needs may arise. I declared a state of emergency on Monday for 34 counties, so they have ample time to prepare for the storm,” DeSantis said during a news conference at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.

“This morning as of an abundance of caution we have expanded that to all counties just simply because we are not sure the extent of the impacts in northwest Florida in particular,” he said.

Hurricane Nicole made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near Vero Beach in the early morning hours of Thursday, according to DeSantis’ executive order. The storm produced “sustained winds of approximately 75 mph and is expected to move northwest across Florida’s Peninsula and exit.”

As of Thursday afternoon, “tropical storm conditions will continue along the east coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina within the warning areas today,” according to an update from the National Hurricane Center.

“Tropical storm conditions will spread northward along the west coast of Florida to the coast of the Florida Panhandle tonight. A dangerous storm surge is expected along portions of the east-central and northeastern coast of Florida, portions of coastal Georgia, and the Florida Big Bend along the Gulf coast.”

DeSantis added that “winds have been the main concern, but we have also seen heavy rains that have resulted in 3–5-foot storm surge in some areas.”

“We do have down trees, you have power lines, you have some road washouts, combined winds and storm surge. We’ve seen beach erosion, especially in areas that had already had erosion from Hurricane Ian,” DeSantis said. “We have also seen potential flash flooding.”

“This is obviously not as a significant of a storm as Hurricane Ian was but coming on the heels of that you’re seeing communities, particularly in the Volusia County area, where you had a lot of that erosion on the coastline. You know, this has put some of those structures in jeopardy,” he said.

Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, warned of tornado alerts, heavy winds and flash flooding.

“Tropical storm conditions are ongoing in across the Florida peninsula and will expand into the Big Bend and eastern Panhandle this afternoon,” Guthrie said. “There remains a risk for severe weather including isolated tornadoes.”

“I continue to urge Floridians to stay indoors in a safe structure,” Guthrie said.

Meanwhile, the DeSantis administration issued a press release later Thursday showing road, bridge closures, airport and train closures.

The following airports are closed in Florida: Daytona Beach International; Orlando International; Orlando Sanford International; Melbourne Orlando International; Northeast Florida Regional
Vero Beach Municipal.

In addition, several roads and interstates are closed in Polk, Pinellas, Orange, Broward and Flagler counties, according to the press release.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.

MORE FROM AUTHOR