Hurricane Nicole Makes Rare Late-Season Landfall
FLORIDA—November 11, 2022—Just six weeks after Hurricane Ian devastated Florida from coast to coast, the state faces recovery from a second storm. Hurricane Nicole made landfall early Thursday morning at North Hutchinson Island, north of West Palm Beach on Florida’s east coast. Coming ashore as a category 1 storm with a massive nearly 500-mile diameter, Nicole lashed the coast with sustained winds of 75 mph and gusts up to 100 mph, according to AccuWeather. Downed power lines created dangerous conditions on flooded streets, with two people reported killed by electrocution. So far five storm-related deaths have been reported.
More than 350,000 customers lost power as heavy rain and storm surge inundated Brevard County. Up to 6.5 inches of rain was reported in some areas with storm surge reaching 4-6 feet above normal tide, flooding streets and homes. In many cases, homes and businesses damaged by Ian were struck with wind and water damage again—before repairs could even be made.
In some communities, like Wilbur-by-the-Sea, homes are in danger of collapse after Nicole worsened coastal erosion caused by Ian, according to AccuWeather. In places where Hurricane Ian washed away sand dunes and damaged sea walls that typically protect homes from the water, Hurricane Nicole charged in with a fresh round of flooding and further erosion and structural damage. Now a tropical depression, Nicole continues to dump heavy rain as it moves inland through Georgia.
Though hurricane season officially goes through the end of the month, a November landfall is unusual. Nicole is the first hurricane to make a U.S. landfall in November in 40 years, according to CNN. This year, November has been uncharacteristically active with tropical weather systems. In just the first ten days of the month, three systems have reached hurricane strength—a pattern more typical during the peak months of August or September, according to AccuWeather. Oddly, this year August didn’t see any named tropical storms for the first time in 25 years.