FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – As Tropical Storm Nicole moves closer to Florida, concerns are growing about effects in coastal areas of Central Florida, including Flagler County.
Residents were filling sandbags at Bay Drive Park on Tuesday.
“If the water got in the house, it would be my furniture. That’s the main thing I was concerned about,” Greg Garofalo said.
At the beach nearby, work was also happening to prepare for the storm’s impact.
Flagler County experienced dune damage as Hurricane Ian swept across Florida in late September. With another storm moving through the state, there have been worries beach erosion will get worse.
All Flagler residents and businesses should be prepared for Tropical Storm like conditions Wed PM thru Fri AM. Coastal residents should expect potential hurricane like conditions.— Flagler County Emergency Management (@FlaglerEOC) November 8, 2022
Information regarding evacuations and shelter locations to be announced this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/3eoHeA01nS
“Just so much sand is lost,” Garofalo said. “You walk down the beach and you’re like almost on a slope. So much erosion is going on.”
Emergency officials said everyone should prepare for tropical storm-like conditions Wednesday through early Friday and coastal residents should expect potential hurricane-like conditions.
“Pay attention to the people who are telling you what to do. That’s about it and storm prep as much as you can,” Garofalo said.
The county announced evacuation orders would be issued Wednesday for all residents and businesses in Zone A, the coastal barrier island that includes the cities of Flagler Beach, Beverly Beach, Painters Hill neighborhood, up to Marineland.
BREAKING: Flagler County Emergency Management says evacuation orders will go out sometime tomorrow for Zone A, which includes everything east of the intercoastal. The county is urging people to make plans to leave tonight or first thing tomorrow morning.#TropicalStormNicole— Cat Silver (@CatSilverNews6) November 8, 2022
Rymfire Elementary School in Palm Coast is being opened as an evacuation shelter.
“Again, we urge that residents do take this storm very, very seriously. It is potentially a Category 1 hurricane at landfall. Flagler County is well within the cone for that possibility to happen in our county,” said Jonathan Lord, emergency management director of Flagler County. “While we’re at the edge of the cone it does not mean we are out of the cone and at a minimum we will be seeing tropical storm force impacts with the potential for hurricane gusts.”
Lord said while the rain from this storm is significantly less than what the county saw with Hurricane Ian, he still wants residents to stay alert.
Flagler County Parks and Recreation announced its dune walkovers and beach access points would be closed effective immediately on Tuesday.
“We kindly ask for everyone to please stay clear of these access areas until they reopen them after the storm,” County Administrator Heidi Petito said in a release. “We want everyone to be safe, and there are definitely going to be stronger winds and higher surf than what we are used to experiencing.”
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