Hurricane Nicole highlights why you shouldn’t just look at cone

Worst damage from Nicole happened 150 miles from storm’s center

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Last hurricane season highlighted the fact that you can’t just pay attention to the cone and that each storm has its own personality.

Ian will be known for its rain in Central Florida, Nicole for its size and atypical makeup that brought devastating impacts far away from its center.

“Been through a lot of hurricanes and never seen anything like it,” Volusia County Emergency Management Director Jim Judge said.

Last hurricane season was one to remember. Ian caused record flooding on the St. Johns River.

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Nicole brought never-before-seen coastal damage in Volusia County, an area that wasn’t in the cone. Judge called that proof the cone isn’t all we need to watch.

“There are so many things you’ve got to look at,” Judge said. “What is going to be the rainfall? Is this going to be a rain event for us as well as a coastal event.”

While Nicole was nowhere near the powerhouse that Ian was, its enormous size made it clear there would be devastating impacts far from the storm’s center.

“With the full moon, high tides, the potential for wave heights, we knew it was going to be bad and so we messaged that. And that’s when we went early on with a mandatory evacuation,” Judge said.

Nicole became the first hurricane to hit the U.S. in November in nearly 40 years. The worst damage happened nearly 150 miles north of where it made landfall on Hutchinson Island.

Judge said that’s why his team takes every storm seriously and you should too.

“We’re always going to err on the side of safety. You can’t go wrong by erring on the side of safety and making sure we’re taking all the necessary precautions and communicating because we’ll lay awake at night thinking of anything we missed,” he said.

If you take away one thing from this story and last hurricane season, it’s that the storm doesn’t have to make landfall in your community to bring devastating impacts.

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About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.