hurricane nicole downgraded to tropical storm as it lashes florida with dangerous winds and storm surge

Hurricane Nicole was downgraded to a tropical storm after making landfall along Florida’s east coast as a Category 1 hurricane early Thursday morning.

The storm made landfall around 3 a.m. near Vero Beach, bringing with it vicious winds and a dangerous storm surge.

Evacuations were ordered across Florida, including former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The storm surge is expected to peak Thursday morning between 8 and 9 a.m.

The storm marks the third time in recorded history that a November hurricane has made landfall in Florida. The other two November hurricanes were the 1935 Yankee Hurricane and Hurricane Kate in 1985.

LIVE UPDATES: HURRICANE NICOLE LASHES FLORIDA WITH DANGEROUS STORM SURGE

Waves crash on the shoreline along the Jensen Beach Causeway, as conditions deteriorate with the approach of Hurricane Nicole, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, in Jensen Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

The storm is now expected to head towards the Orlando metropolitan area before moving north.

The National Hurricane Center recorded maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour. Nicole hit Grand Bahama earlier – the first hurricane to hit the Bahamas since Category 5 Hurricane Dorian ravaged the islands in 2019.

The storm prompted Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort to close early on Wednesday. The amusement parks will likely stay closed through Thursday.

NASA MOVES ARTEMIS 1 LAUNCH DATE DUE TO APPROACHING TROPICAL STORM NICOLE

The storm marks the third time in recorded history that a November hurricane had made landfall in Florida.

The storm marks the third time in recorded history that a November hurricane had made landfall in Florida. (Fox Weather)

Major coastal flooding is expected from the Florida Space Coast up to South Carolina. Tornadoes also remain a possibility from across east-central to northeast Florida Thursday morning.

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On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said winds were the biggest concern and significant power outages could occur. The governor emphasized that 16,000 linemen were on standby to restore power, as well as 600 guardsmen and seven search and rescue teams.

Major coastal flooding is expected from the Florida Space Coast to up to South Carolina.

Major coastal flooding is expected from the Florida Space Coast to up to South Carolina. (Fox Weather)

“It will affect huge parts of the state of Florida all day,” DeSantis said at a presser in Tallahassee.

Forty-five of Florida’s 67 counties were under a state of emergency declaration.

Early Wednesday, President Biden declared an emergency in Florida and ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal and local response efforts to the approaching storm.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is still responding to those in need from Hurricane Ian.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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