At least five people were reported dead after Hurricane Nicole made landfall in Florida Thursday morning.
AccuWeather reports that Nicole made landfall in Florida as a Category 1 hurricane. It was downgraded to a tropical storm on its way to Georgia Friday morning.
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), one man and one woman were killed after being electrocuted by a downed power line outside of Orlando.
“We are urging all of our residents and visitors to use extreme caution if they are outside in the wake of the storm today,” the office wrote on Facebook. “Never touch a downed power line. If you are driving and see a downed power line, change directions immediately.”
Authorities in Orange County reported two other storm-related deaths. The Cocoa Police Department reported the fifth death after a woman called 911 early Friday morning and said her husband was in distress. The couple had been on their yacht, docked at Lee Wenner Park, as it was tossed around by the waves.
While fire firefighters came onboard the vessel and performed CPR on the woman’s husband, the yacht broke loose from the lock and began to drift. Shortly afterward, responders managed to secure the boat, and the man was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. No cause of death has been confirmed at this time.
During a storm briefing on Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis shared that the storm brought heavy winds and rainfall to the state, including “3 to 5 feet in storm surge” in several areas and possible flash flooding.
“You do have downed 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 seen erosion from Hurricane Ian, and these are places like Brevard, Volusia, Flagler and St. Johns counties,” DeSantis said, according to NBC News.
While Nicole was weaker than Hurricane Ian, DeSantis extended an emergency declaration for 45 counties. Additionally, 17,000 line workers have begun working to restore power across the state. Search and rescue teams, high water vehicles and Transportation Department crews are ready to deploy once conditions are safe.
DeSantis also shared that 600 National Guard members had been activated earlier this week.
“This is obviously not as significant 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 have a lot of that erosion on the coastline, this has put some of those structures in jeopardy,” the governor said.
According to the Associated Press, Hurricane Nicole’s timing is a rarity for Florida as only two past hurricanes —the 1935 Yankee Hurricane and Hurricane Kate in 1985— made landfall in November.