Tropical Storm Nicole Hits Florida; Trump Remains At Mar-A-Lago Despite Evacuation Order

The storm made landfall on Florida's Atlantic coast early Thursday.
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Nicole made landfall Thursday morning on Florida’s Atlantic coast, where officials issued mandatory evacuation orders that included former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

Nicole made landfall as a hurricane just south of Vero Beach, the National Hurricane Center said at 3 a.m. Thursday. It was downgraded to a tropical storm about an hour later with maximum sustained winds of nearly 70 mph.

The National Hurricane Center urged people not to focus on the exact track of Nicole as the effects from the storm could be felt over a large area. Nicole is set to move across Florida to the panhandle and up Georgia coast tonight and Friday, and will likely weaken to a tropical depression.

Officials at the National Hurricane Center warned it could cause a dangerous storm surge that could raise water levels by 4 to 6 feet and prompt flash floods and urban deluges. The agency also said the hurricane could spawn tornadoes overnight and into early Thursday across parts of Florida.

“Winds are the main concern with Nicole,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said at a news conference Wednesday. “It will affect huge parts of the state of Florida pretty much all day Thursday.”

The storm made landfall in the Bahamas earlier Wednesday. About 900 people were in storm shelters after Nicole, then a tropical storm, caused extensive flooding and power outages across the island chain.

Trump is in Florida at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach County. A Trump adviser told The Washington Post that the resort was closed amid mandatory evacuation orders but said Trump was not leaving.

The wedding of his daughter Tiffany Trump is scheduled at the venue later this week.

The Associated Press noted that it’s rare for a hurricane to strike Florida in November. Only two hurricanes have made landfall there since record keeping began in 1853: one in 1935 and another in 1985.

Some communities are concerned about a return of storm surges and flooding less than two months after Hurricane Ian caused widespread destruction across the state after making landfall near Fort Myers.

Liza Hearon contributed to this article.

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