Nicole made landfall on Florida’s east coast in the wee hours of Thursday morning as a category 1 hurricane, before weakening and sweeping across the whole peninsula as a tropical storm.
At least four people died as the storm battered the state, all in Orange County. The first two deaths were the result of a traffic accident during the storm, and two people were electrocuted by downed power lines, according to a report from local news outlet WFTV 9. More than 300,000 people lost power during the storm but, as of writing, electricity has mostly been restored. Just around 23,000 remain without power, according to the tracking website PowerOutage.us.
Nicole largely spared the region of southwest Florida hit hardest by Hurricane Ian last month. Ian’s storm surges and flooding also impacted sections of the state’s east coast. As a result, portions of the coast were left vulnerable, and Nicole’s destruction was amplified—particularly in Volusia County, which encompasses Daytona Beach and other small coastal cities.
The hurricane’s multi-foot storm surge pounded beachfront houses, hotels, and condos, and caused massive erosion, bringing down many buildings. Others, though still standing, have been declared unsafe. At least 49 beachfront buildings have been evacuated amid risk of collapse, according to the Ormond Beach Observer.
It was the first hurricane to come ashore on the state’s Atlantic coast since Katrina in 2005, according to the New York Times. In recent years, tropical cyclones have more commonly formed or end up in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall on the state’s west coast. The rare November storm was also the second-latest season hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in the continental U.S. The latest was Hurricane Kate, which hit Florida as a category 2 on November 21, 1985.
Prior to hitting Florida, Nicole plowed through the northern Bahamas, hitting Grand Bahama and Great Abaco islands. Hundreds of people there lost power, were evacuated from their homes, and were forced to hunker down in shelters. After Florida, remnants of the wide storm are still on the move. Nicole is currently centered over northern Georgia as a tropical depression.
Areas of the eastern U.S. from the Mid-Atlantic to New England are expected to receive heavy rains Friday through the weekend from Nicole. The National Weather Service warns of tornados in North Carolina and eastern Virginia, and up to 8 inches of rain could fall in Appalachia, where devastating flooding killed at least 40 people this past summer.
Click through for images of the damage wrought by Nicole in Florida.