Florida Braces for Potential Hurricane

Gov. DeSantis declares state of emergency for 34 counties, as the storm is expected to reach hurricane status before making landfall.

November 08, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Thirty-four Florida counties are under a state of emergency ahead of the potential impacts from Subtropical Storm Nicole, reports WPTV. The storm is expected to strengthen as it approaches Florida’s East Coast, reaching tropical storm status later today and Category 1 status by Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning when it makes landfall.

More than 20 million people are under a tropical storm alert from Hallandale Beach, Florida, in South Broward County to Altamaha Sound, Georgia. And portions of Florida’s West Coast from north of Bonita Beach to the Ochlockonee River are under a tropical storm watch, where many residents are still dealing with the aftermaths of Hurricane Ian.

Eight million people are under a hurricane watch. The watch extends from just north of Miami to Florida’s Space Coast and includes Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Cape Canaveral and Melbourne. The storm is expected to make landfall above West Palm Beach.

“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,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the trajectory and strength of this storm as it moves towards Florida.”

According to Jamie Rhome, the acting director of the National Hurricane Center, the center is not forecasting a major hurricane, but it expects the storm to be “a potentially impactful system.”

“Florida residents need to be taking this seriously,” Rhome said in a video briefing posted online.

“Don’t let the ‘sub’ fool you. #Nicole is a formidable storm that will have major impacts all along the southeastern U.S. coastline, not only near the center. Coastal flooding, large waves and rip currents will extend from the tip of FL to NC,” the National Weather Service tweeted.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 14 to 21 named storms this hurricane season, and three to six of those storms were expected to be major hurricanes (category three or higher). Subtropical storm Nicole is the 14th named storm this year. The hurricane season runs through November 30, but hurricanes this late in the season are rare.

If Nicole reaches hurricane strength, 2022 would tie the record set in 2001 for the most Atlantic hurricane formations in November at three. If the storm makes landfall as a hurricane, it will be the second-latest hurricane ever to hit the continental United States, and it would be the latest recorded landfall ever for a hurricane on the east coast of Florida.

If the storm does not make landfall as a hurricane, it would still be the strongest tropical storm to make landfall along the Florida east coast this late in the calendar year on record.

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Craig Fugate, former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Obama Administration, headlined a NACS webinar on how to plan and prepare for emergencies and how to use the NACS Convenience Store Emergency Planning and Job Aids. The resource is designed to help convenience retailers quickly and efficiently determine the best course of action for their teams to plan for an emergency and resume operations quickly and safely.

For more emergency planning resources, NACS Magazine articles and Convenience Matters podcast episodes, check out NACS’ Disaster and Emergency Preparedness topics page.