This story will be updated as the storm progresses. Please check back for the latest details and information. News as of 4 p.m. Thursday:
Nearly 300,000 homes and businesses across the state are without power as Tropical Storm Nicole is bringing heavy rainfall and strong winds.
The storm is sweeping through the state after making landfall Thursday morning as a Category 1 hurricane on Florida’s east coast, south of Vero Beach, with maximum winds reaching 75 miles per hour.
The hurricane weakened to a tropical storm after making landfall. The center of Nicole is straddling the coast of the Florida Big Bend region, creating a dangerous storm surge, waves and heavy rain, the National Hurricane Center tweeted. The NHC is providing hourly updates.
“Tropical storm conditions will continue along the east coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina within the warning areas today,” according to NHC.
Storm warnings are in effect across Tampa Bay as well as portions of Georgia and South Carolina.
“The area may experience winds of up to 65 miles per hour overnight tonight into Thursday afternoon. While Wednesday evening and Thursday morning will have lower-than-usual tidal levels, coastal flooding is anticipated Thursday evening going into Friday morning,” Pinellas County’s Wednesday post on Twitter read.
- Pinellas County staff has closed community storm shelters as of this afternoon.
- Pinellas County Schools and district offices have closed.
- The Sunshine Skyway Bridge has closed to all traffic.
The City of St. Petersburg warned that those in flood-prone neighborhoods should be aware of one to three feet of storm surge above the high tide overnight and early tomorrow morning.
Nicole formed in the southwestern Atlantic Monday morning, becoming a subtropical storm and later declared a tropical storm.