The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the U.S. Coast Guard are locking down drawbridges in Boward, Palm Beach, Martin, and St. Lucie counties as Tropical Storm Nicole approaches the Sunshine State.
The storm is on track to become a hurricane according to the National Hurricane Center, and is expected to touchdown as early as Wednesday night.
According to a news release, the bridges will be closed to marine navigation once lockdowns are complete. They will remain closed for the duration of severe weather and until the drawbridges and waterways can be assessed for damages. Bridges will remain open to vehicular traffic.
In order to prepare for the storm, Governor Ron DeSantis issued a State of Emergency for 34 counties in Florida on Monday, including Hillsborough and Pasco counties. The entire Tampa Bay area is currently under a tropical storm warning.
“While this storm does not, at this time, appear that it will become much stronger, I urge all Floridians to be prepared and to listen to announcements from local emergency management officials,” the Florida Governor said. “We will continue to monitor the trajectory and strength of this storm as it moves towards Florida.”
Mariners are encouraged to frequently check the USCG Notice to Mariners for updates and additional information at Sector Miami.
As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, Nicole is 25 miles east-northeast of Great Abaco Island and 240 miles east of West Palm Beach. It has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and is moving west-southwest at 13 mph.
Mandatory and voluntary evacuations have been announced across South Florida ahead of landfall.
President Joe Biden approved a Florida Emergency Declaration ahead of the storm.
Source: FDOT, WPBF.com