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Governor Ron DeSantis Gives Updates on Preparation Efforts Ahead of Tropical Storm Nicole

Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis gave an update on state preparation efforts ahead of Tropical Storm Nicole and urged Floridians to listen to local emergency management officials for updates related to their counties. There are currently 16,000 linemen staged to respond to power outages following the storm in addition to 600 guardsmen that have been activated, and 7 Urban Search and Rescue teams on standby to deploy following the storm. Governor DeSantis also signed an executive order, expanding the number of counties under the State of Emergency to 45 counties, now including Alachua, Bradford, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hernando, Jefferson, Levy, Marion, Pinellas, Taylor, and Wakulla counties. Preparation efforts for Tropical Storm Nicole are in addition to the ongoing recovery effort for Hurricane Ian. To watch the Governor’s full remarks, click here.

As of 1:00 p.m. EST, Tropical Storm Nicole is located 185 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida with maximum sustained winds of 70mph and moving west at 12mph. Currently, Nicole is forecast to reach hurricane strength later today. Floridians are reminded to prepare for an increased risk of coastal and river flooding, rainfall, heavy winds, tornadoes, rip currents, and beach erosion.

The following Watches and Warnings are in effect:

  • Hurricane Warning: Brevard, Indian River, Martin, coastal Palm Beach, St. Lucie and coastal Volusia counties.
  • Hurricane Watch: Broward and inland Palm Beach
  • Tropical Storm Warning:  Alachua, Bradford, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hernando, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, Taylor, Volusia and Wakulla counties.
  • Tropical Storm Watch: Baker, Columbia, Hamilton, Suwanee and Union counties.
  • Storm Surge Warning: Brevard, Citrus, Clay, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Hernando, Indian River, Jefferson, Levy, Martin, Nassau, Palm Beach, Pasco, Putnam, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Taylor, Volusia and Wakulla counties.
  • Storm Surge Watch: Broward and Franklin counties.
  • Flood Watch: Brevard, Broward, Clay, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia counties.

On Monday, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order (EO) 22-253, declaring a State of Emergency for counties in the potential path of Tropical Storm Nicole.

The state remains in constant communication with the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service and county emergency management officials of all 67 counties ahead of impacts from Tropical Storm Nicole. State preparedness efforts include:

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Florida Division of Emergency Management

  • At Governor DeSantis’ request, FEMA has approved an Emergency Declaration for Tropical Storm Nicole. FEMA Public Assistance Category B (emergency protective measures) has been approved for Alachua, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Jefferson, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Taylor, Volusia and Wakulla counties, as well as the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
  • FDEM is leading the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) for the Tropical Storm Nicole response.
  • FDEM is in constant communication with all 67 county emergency management offices and state agencies to coordinate protective actions and needed resources ahead of potential storm impacts.
  • FDEM has activated the State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) to provide an additional resource for Floridians to receive up-to-date information regarding Tropical Storm Nicole, as well as Hurricane Ian recovery resources. Residents and visitors can call this toll-free hotline at 1-800-342-3557.
  • FDEM Liaisons are being deployed to Brevard, Lake, Martin, Orange, Seminole, St. Lucie and Volusia counties at their request to provide on-site response assistance and to conduct damage assessments after the storm.
  • FDEM is deploying shelter support staff to address staffing needs in counties that have opened their public hurricane shelters.
  • FDEM has deployed 18 pallets of water to Orange County and is staging additional commodities to ensure food and water are readily available if counties request it.
  • Eight Urban Search and Rescue teams are prepared to deploy to impacted areas.

Transportation

  • The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) issued a memorandum for emergency response vehicles to bypass weigh stations in response to Tropical Storm Nicole and coordinated with Georgia and Tennessee to allow Florida-bound utility convoys to bypass their state’s weigh stations.

Roadways and Bridges

  • State Drawbridges in Brevard, Broward, Martin, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, and Volusia Counties are locked down for marine traffic.
    • Remains open to vehicular traffic.
  • All active construction sites within the projected impact areas have been secured and prepared for severe weather conditions.
  • Drainage structures within the projected impact areas have been cleaned and cleared of debris in preparation for the storm.

Ports

The following seaports are OPEN

  • Port of Pensacola
  • Port Panama City  
  • Port St. Joe  
  • Port Tampa Bay  
  • Port St. Pete 
  • SeaPort Manatee 
  • Port of Key West  

The following seaports are CLOSED

  • Port Canaveral
  • Port Fernandina
  • Port of Fort Pierce
  • JAXPORT  (Waterside is closed, Landside will close at 5:00 p.m.)
  • Port of Palm Beach
  • Port Everglades
  • Port Miami

AIRPORTS

  • All Commercial Service airports are open as of 11/9/22 at 9:30 a.m.
  • The following airports Plan To Close:
    • Daytona Beach International Airport- Closing 11/9/22 at 12:30 p.m.
    • Orlando International Airport- Operations will be suspended starting 11/9/22 at 4:00 p.m.
    • Orlando Sanford International Airport- Airport will suspend operations beginning 11/9/22 at 4:00 p.m.
    • Melbourne Orlando International Airport- Terminal will close 11/9/22 at 2:00 p.m.
    • Palm Beach International Airport- Terminal will close 11/9/22 at 10:00 a.m.
    • Vero Beach Municipal Airport- Airport is anticipated to close 11/9/22 in the afternoon.

RAIL

Passenger Rail 

  • Amtrak: Silver Star #91 & 92 – Service from Jacksonville to Miami is canceled.  Auto Train #52 & 53 is canceled.  Silver Meteor #97 is canceled entirely and the service for Silver Meteor #98 is canceled from Miami to Jacksonville.
  • TriRail: Will suspend service 11/9/22 at 5:00 p.m.
  • SunRail: Service suspended.

Freight Rail 

  • CSX – monitoring the storm and routine storm prep
  • FEC – monitoring the storm and routine storm prep
  • Seminole Gulf Railway – they are removing signal gates and monitoring the storm
  • SCFE – monitoring the storm and routine storm prep
  • Regional Rail (Florida Central, Florida Midland, Florida Northern, and Port Manatee railroads) – plan to close 11/9 at 3 p.m.  Florida Central Railroad, Florida Midland Railroad &  – Florida Northern Railroad) will be closed on 11/10.

TRANSIT

The following agencies are CLOSED:

  • Indian River- Will suspend service 11/9/22 at 1:00 p.m.
  • St. Lucie- Will suspend service 11/9/22 at 12:00 p.m.
  • Martin County- Service Suspended
  • Palm Tran- Will suspend Service 11/9/22 at 12:00 p.m.

Health and Human Services

  • The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is coordinating the deployment of personnel and healthcare resources such as ambulances to support patient movement efforts.
  • DOH has coordinated with the Office of Insurance Regulation to distribute an alert regarding permitted early prescription refills during a State of Emergency. This alert was sent to health insurers, managed care organizations, health entities, and licensed health care providers. The alert can be found here.
  • DOH has deployed emergency preparedness information materials on its website and through its social media platforms. 
  • Currently, DOH is operating 5 special needs shelters in areas of anticipated landfall. 
  • In Volusia County, DOH has 5 ambulance Strike Teams and 10 paratransit busses staged to respond to needs ahead of Tropical Storm Nicole’s landfall. 
  • DCF is maintaining contact with contracted partners, including, Managing Entities, Community Based Care lead agencies, and child care providers to ensure they are prepared.
  • All Mental Health Treatment Facilities are prepared for the storm.
  • Collier County’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) on Wednesday, November 9th will have modified hours from 6:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. onsite. The Department will also be adding a phone interview option for Collier County residents on that day as an alternative to visiting the on-site location. The telephone interview process will be available from 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. More information can be found at www.myflfamilies.com/dsnap.
  • The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and its facilities in the projected impacted areas of Tropical Storm Nicole have finalized storm preparations to ensure the safety and security of staff and youth. These actions include fueling all vehicles, moving vehicles in low-lying and flood-prone areas to higher ground, testing and ensuring adequate fuel supplies for generators in the event of loss of power, and ensuring food, medicine and emergency supplies are stocked and ready.
  • The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) is closely monitoring Tropical Storm Nicole and taking proactive steps to ensure public safety and make sure all individuals entrusted to our custody are safe and secure as Florida responds to the storm.
  • The Department of Elder Affairs has providers implementing preparation procedures, which includes contacting clients to ensure their needs are met and providing take-home meals and/or shelf-stable meals to congregate and home-delivered meal clients.
  • Providers in the path of Nicole have closed for Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Area Agencies on Aging have shelf-stable meals ready to provide to clients post-storm if needed.
  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) is providing updates regarding preparedness and protective actions to APD State and Regional offices and APD-operated facilities, partners, providers, employees, and clients related to Tropical Storm Nicole.
  • APD Regions have done call-downs to providers, Group Homes, Waiver Support Coordinators, and Supported Living Coaches to ensure APD clients are taking necessary precautions for TS Nicole landfall and its impact. 

Education

  • The Florida Department of Education is consistently updating their website with school district closures, as well as State University System and Florida College System Closures.

Law Enforcement

  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is conducting planning calls with all law enforcement partners to assess needs ahead of the storm.
  • FDLE has established teams ready to deploy following the storm.
  • FWC officers in all 67 Florida counties have been placed on heightened alert status, in anticipation of wind damage, beach erosion, heavy rains and flooding because of Tropical Storm Nicole.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is actively monitoring Tropical Storm Nicole and is ready to respond. Officers from outside the projected path are on standby and ready to deploy when needed. They will respond with a variety of specialized equipment, including shallow draft boats, ATVs, airboats and four-wheel drive vehicles. These assets do not include local FWC officers in potentially affected areas, who will be immediately available to respond after the storm passes.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is directing the public to myfwc.com/notices/ for information about wildlife management areas, fish management areas, shooting ranges and FWC office closures due to the forecasted effects of Tropical Storm Nicole.
  • FLHSMV is in close communication with law enforcement, transportation, and emergency management partners and stands ready to assist for any potential impacts from Tropical Storm Nicole.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is maintaining high visibility on interstate systems, bridges, and rest areas. Motorists can report disabled vehicles or dangerous driving conditions to *FHP (*347).
  • FLHSMV driver license and motor vehicle service center closures can be found here.
  • FLHSMV has issued Emergency Order 110722, which:
    • Waives specific requirements for commercial motor vehicles providing emergency relief; and
    • Waives the replacement fees for driver’s license and identification credentials, vehicle registrations and titles, vessel registrations and titles and temporary parking permits for impacted individuals.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

  • Following the issuance of the Governor’s Executive Order, DEP has issued an Emergency Final Order to expedite necessary repair, replacement and restoration of structures, equipment, surface water management systems, works and other systems made necessary by Tropical Storm Nicole, as well as setting forth streamlined requirements for the management of storm debris.
  • WaterTracker is active, DEP’s online portal for wastewater and drinking water facilities to report their operational status.
  • Florida state park closures can be found at www.floridastateparks.org/StormUpdates.
    • Visitors with existing camping and cabin reservations at impacted parks will be notified of their reservation status.
  • National Estuarine Research Reserve and Aquatic Preserve closures can be found at https://floridadep.gov/rcp/aquatic-preserve.

Private Sector Support

  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has activated the private sector hotline at 850-815-4925 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Eastern Time. Inquiries may also be emailed to ESF18@em.myflorida.com.
  • DEO is updating FloridaDisaster.biz with real-time information for business owners to prepare their businesses, families and employees for Tropical Storm Nicole.
  • An updated list of state building closures can be found here. The Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) Emergency Information Hotline is 888-336-7345.
  • The following local workforce development boards’ hours of operation will be adjusted as a result of Tropical Storm Nicole:
    • CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion will be temporarily closed Thursday, November 10, 2022.
    • CareerSource Flagler Volusia will be temporarily closed Wednesday, November 9 through Friday, November 11, 2022.
    • CareerSource Central Florida will be providing Virtual Services Only on Wednesday, November 9 through Thursday, November 10, 2022. Additionally, CareerSource Central Florida will be closed for Veteran’s Day on Friday, November 11, 2022.
    • CareerSource Brevard will be temporarily closed Wednesday, November 9 through Friday, November 11, 2022.
    • CareerSource Research Coast will be temporarily closed Wednesday, November 9 through Friday, November 11, 2022.
    • CareerSource Palm Beach County will be temporarily closed Wednesday, November 9 through Friday, November 11, 2022.
    • CareerSource Southwest Florida will be temporarily closed Wednesday, November 9 through Friday, November 11, 2022.
  • Wells Fargo located at 255 South County Rd., Palm Beach, FL, will be closed Wednesday, November 9, 2022, and Thursday, November 10, 2022, due to Tropical Storm Nicole.

Insurance

  • In coordination with the Florida Department of Health, OIR has distributed a notice to all health insurers, managed care organizations, and other health entities, reminding them they must comply with provisions of section 252.358, Florida Statutes, which allows for early prescription refills in the event the Governor issues an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency. The notice is available on OIR’s website here.

Closures

  • 20 mobile Starlink hotspot locations in areas impacted by Hurricane Ian will close today at 1:00pm on Wednesday, November 9th , ahead of Tropical Storm Nicole. Locations will remain closed all day Thursday, November 10th and will re-open at 8:00am on Friday, November 11th.
  • Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order  #2022-253, please be advised that counties have announced government building closures for Wednesday, November 9, 2022 due to Tropical Storm Nicole. As such, the state facilities in these counties will be closed for this date.
  • For a list of building closures, click here.
  • The Florida Commission on Offender Review has closed field offices in Brevard and Martin counties. The Commission’s regularly scheduled parole hearings will proceed in Tallahassee at the Betty Easley Conference Center on Wednesday, November 9, and on Thursday, November 10, should state offices remain open.
  • Due to the impending threat from Tropical Storm Nicole, the Lottery’s West Palm Beach District Office will be closed to employees and the public on Wednesday, November 9 and the Orlando District Office will be closed to employees and the public beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 9. Offices will remain closed until further notice.
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