Shortly after making landfall on Florida’s east coast with a mix of powerful winds and heavy rains, Hurricane Nicole deteriorated into a tropical storm on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
Six weeks after the last significant hurricane, Nicole had threatened coastal regions that were still in shambles.
At the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, where NASA’s new moon rocket was left out in the elements and anchored to its launch pad to weather the storm, a hurricane warning had been issued for a 240-mile coastline area.
As Nicole travelled inland from Florida’s coast on Thursday, it was reduced from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm.
The National Hurricane Center reported that the storm, which made landfall along the east coast of Florida north of Miami at 3 a.m. EST, was packing sustained winds of up to 75 mph (120 kph). Later, the speeds decreased to 70 mph.
The hurricane centre had issued storm-surge advisories for a large portion of Florida’s Atlantic coast, advising that wind-driven waves would rush inland and flood low-lying communities far from the coastline.
When Hurricane Ian made landfall on September 28 and ploughed across the Florida Peninsula to the Atlantic, leaving an estimated $60 billion in damage and killing more than 140 people, storm surges wreaked havoc throughout the state’s Gulf Coast and its eastern seaboard.
Nicole was anticipated to be less powerful when it made an impact than Ian, which made landfall in Florida as a major Category 4 storm. Authorities cautioned, however, that Nicole remained a serious threat, particularly to the buildings and coastline foundations that Ian had weakened.
(with inputs from agencies)