Central Florida counties prepare for Subtropical Storm Nicole
This article was updated at 5 p.m. Monday to include information from Orange County officials.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for 34 counties as Subtropical Storm Nicole is forecast to make landfall on Florida’s east coast later this week.
The declaration includes Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia counties in Central Florida.
Local leaders are urging residents to prepare.
Seminole County has opened sandbag sites and lifted the fee for dumping debris in the landfill as it gets ready for the second potential hurricane in a matter of weeks.
Seminole County emergency manager Alan Harris said Nicole threatens the county with high winds -- especially if it becomes a hurricane -- and 6 to 7 inches of rainfall in some places.
It comes as the flooding from Hurricane Ian has finally fallen from moderate to minor.
Harris highlighted the threat of a "double-whammy."
"We've seen this before in Seminole County -- 2008," Harris said. "I am not saying this is going to be Tropical Storm Fay, but the track is the exact opposite but very similar, where the storm came over us, made a U-turn and came back over us. This is looking to be very, very similar to that."
Harris said people who CAN should bring debris left over from Ian to the landfill.
In Volusia County, Jessica Fentress, director of the county's Coastal Division, said its beaches are at "a critical point" after Hurricane Ian.
It caused significant sea wall failures and erosion that already threatens two dozen additional structures.
Fentress says Nicole will likely have compounding impacts.
"The potential for impacts is very significant with regard to erosion," Fentress said in a press conference Monday afternoon. "If you are an ocean front property owner, I would take this very seriously. And if you are uncomfortable or nervous with the structural integrity of your house, I would urge you to find shelter elsewhere."
For safety, Volusia County urges people to stay off the beaches and out of the water ahead of the storm.
Orange County officials say Nicole is more likely to be a wind event and won't cause widespread flooding in the county like Hurricane Ian.
Mayor Jerry Demings says Orange County could see impacts from the storm on Wednesday and Thursday. It is forecast to become a hurricane before making landfall in southeast Florida later this week.
"If we incur the 4 to 6 inches of rain that is projected by the National Weather Service," he said at an afternoon press conference, "we should be able to handle that within our current stormwater system."
A county official says area creeks that flooded after Hurricane Ian have dropped to near normal levels.
Meanwhile, the county has opened one sandbag site -- at Downey Park -- with plans to open three more.
Orange County has opened a sandbag site at Downey Park, 10107 Flowers Ave.
Three other locations will open Tuesday at 8 a.m., according to a county news release. You can find those location -- as they are identified -- at ocfl.net/Nicole.
Residents will need to provide proof of residency within Orange County. The sandbag site is self-service with a limit of 10.
Seminole County announced Monday morning that sandbag operations are underway ahead of potential impacts from Subtropical Storm Nicole.
Self-serve sites are available. At county locations there will be help for elderly people and those with special needs.
(Up to 15 bags per household)
– Old Geneva Volunteer Fire Station, 217 Second St., Geneva (Monday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and Tuesday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.)
– Lake Monroe Wayside Park, 4150 Highway 17, Sanford (Monday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Tuesday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.)
– BOOMBAH Sports Complex, 3450 E. Lake Mary Blvd., Sanford (Monday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Tuesday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.)
(Check with the city for details and hours)
– City of Longwood: Candyland Park, 599 Longdale Ave.
– City of Winter Springs: Central Winds Park, 1000 Central Winds Drive
– City of Altamonte: Merrill Park, 985 Merrill Park Drive
–City of Sanford: Public Works Complex, 800 W. Fulton St.
– City of Oviedo – Public Works Complex, 1725 Evans St. (Monday 12-5 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Volusia County Emergency Director Jim Judge said on Facebook that the county needs “to take this storm very seriously because it could cause more coastal erosion, which could be devastating to our beachfront properties impacted by Hurricane Ian.”
He expects rainfall amounts “anywhere from of 4 to 8 inches through Friday that could cause flooding, along with tropical storm force winds that could cause widespread power outages.”
The county will provide sand and empty sandbags to residents from noon to 4 p.m. Monday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the parking lot of the Volusia County Correctional Facility, 1354 Indian Lake Road, Daytona Beach.
Some cities will also provide sand and sandbags. To learn about additional sand and sandbag distribution, cvisit volusia.org/pin.
The county says other coastal residents should consider moving to a safer location.
And people are urged stay off the beach until further notice because of wind, high surf and damaged beach structures. The showers and bathrooms will be closed.
County staff is maintaining continuous communication with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, FEMA and our local municipalities. The Emergency Operations Center will transition to partial activation if conditions warrant.
Tipping fees have been dropped at the Seminole County landfill, 1930 E. Osceola Road in Geneva. If possible, residents are asked to remove debris that hasn’t been picked up already in order to prevent possible projectiles during high winds.