On Wednesday, Daytona Beach and Volusia and Flagler Counties were bracing for tropical storm Nicole as conditions already were deteriorating with wind and bands of light rain.
The storm began sending pockets of rain our way as early as Monday.
Nicole is expected to make landfall in Florida somewhere near Fort Pierce early Thursday as a category 1 storm with sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.
It is expected to impact us locally the most on late Wednesday and early Thursday.
Nicole is projected to bring sustained winds of up to 60 miles per hour, up to six inches of rain and up to 3 feet storm surge along with beach erosion, possible flooding and possible power outages.
To make matters worse, locals are still recovering from Hurricane Ian, which devastated the area in September with winds up to 81 miles per hour and 26 inches of rain.
Nikki Rone had to leave her apartment in Palmetto Park due to Ian. Fortunately for Rone, she and her family were able to immediately find permanent shelter.
“I know that we are not ready for another storm here in Daytona. People are still recovering from Ian. People are still displaced. Many lost everything,” responded Rone.
“People are still trying to get FEMA assistance, D-SNAP and SNAP benefits and more. There is still trash and debris on the side of the road. Many people can’t mentally go through this again.”
Margaret Harrison had to leave her home on Keech Street, which was flooded out and is now being remodeled. She is currently living in a hotel.
“I think that Daytona is not ready for another storm. People are still not in their homes. Many lost everything,” Harrison said.
“I feel that at the end of the day people that need the help the most are not getting it. I feel that FEMA is choosing to help certain people. More should be done for those down Orange Avenue and back. All we can do is prepare and pray.”
Volusia County ordered the beaches, riverside and lowland areas mandatory evacuated as of 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
The county is also operating its emergency management operations.
A countywide curfew is in effect from 7 p.m. on Wednesday until 7 a.m. on Thursday.
“We want everyone to take this storm seriously,” emphasized Volusia County Manager, George Recktenwald during Tuesday’s County Emergency Management press conference.
Volusia County Emergency Management Director Jim Judge added, “We are taking every precaution necessary to be able to perform and protect our citizens. We are already having dangerous conditions before the storm on our coast.
The curfew does not apply to:
- Regular members of law enforcement
- Regular employees of business, industries or government entities while traveling from their jobs
- All emergency workers
Those who knowingly violate the curfew can be convicted and be subject to a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment in the county jail for up to 60 days.
The Volusia County school district closed schools on Wednesday (Nov. 9) and Thursday (Nov.10). Friday, Nov. 11 is the Veterans Day holiday. Tuesday schools were closed for Election Day as many are voting precincts.
The following schools were open as shelters as of 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
- Hinson Middle at 1860 N. Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach.
- Heritage Middle at 101 Parnell Court, Deltona
- Creekside Middle at 6801 Airport Road, Port Orange
- University High at 100 W Rhode Island Ave., Orange City
Creekside and University are general population shelters while Heritage and Hinson are both for the medically fragile populations only (special needs).
The City of Daytona Beach closed its offices, parks and community centers at noon on Wednesday.
The Daytona Beach Police Department is recommending to the Daytona Beach Housing Authority that its communities of Palmetto Park and Caroline Village evacuate. The housing authority asked residents to evacuate on Wednesday morning.
Both developments sustained flooding damage during Ian, with Caroline Village being under deep water for days and having rescues.
Daytona State College is closed and will re-evaluate on Friday, Nov. 11.
Stetson University moved to online learning on Wednesday. Bethune-Cookman University had yet to make an announcement as of Wednesday morning.