Here’s how Nicole’s rains, winds affected Brevard’s flooding, damage

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It was only a matter of centimeters that helped keep flooding from Hurricane Nicole to a minimum in Brevard County, county officials say.

The storm that hit the state on Thursday morning had the potential to bring 6 to 8 inches of rain to the Space Coast. But rainfall totals were actually between 2.3 inches and 4.9 inches in various parts of the county, according to preliminary data released by the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

Brevard County Deputy Manager John Denninghoff said the county was “in pretty good shape” when it comes to flooding issues, although Nicole made her way through Brevard in the form of a strong tropical storm.

“I’m very happy about it,” said Denninghoff, deputy county manager for the development and environmental services group. “We are satisfied with the result.”

Despite the good news about flooding, the county still suffered damage from high winds and beaches suffered from pounding waves and storm surges.

Impacts of the storm:Hurricane Nicole knocked out power, toppled signs and flooded docks on Space Coast

What happened during the storm:Tropical Storm Nicole brings widespread power outages and storm surge

Brevard County officials have just begun a property damage assessment from Hurricane Nicole.

As of Friday morning, county building officials declared at least 10 properties uninhabitable, according to Peter Cranis, public information officer for Brevard County Emergency Management. Seven are in the Melbourne Beach area and one in Melbourne, Port St. John and Satellite Beach. They include condos, resorts, private residences, gas station. Andretti Thrill Park was on the list, but his team said it suffered only cosmetic damage and reopened on Friday.

Some of the properties had structural damage. Others have seen their structures undermined by erosion from nearby beaches or other factors. There is no dollar estimate of the damage, Cranis said.

But it’s the lack of flooding that has had a positive impact on most residents, compared to Ian six weeks ago.

Denninghoff said lower-than-expected rainfall totals helped reduce the potential for widespread flooding in the county, as did the county’s use of pre-storm pumping systems in flood-prone areas, where that was possible.

The National Weather Service reported rainfall totals from the storm ranging from 4.85 inches at Cape Canaveral to 2.34 inches on flood-prone Merritt Island. Rainfall totals were also below 3 inches in Melbourne, West Melbourne and Titusville.

Damaged properties being assessed

Brevard County Emergency Management Director John Scott said the county has its damage assessment process underway.

Scott said that due to Nicole’s path and the speed of her winds, he expected to see “a wider cross-section” of the places in Brevard where the damage was seen, as opposed to the damage that was concentrated in the northern part of the county during Hurricane Ian.

“While we don’t have any major damage reports or pockets of damage, we do have sporadic damage reports, really from coast to coast, south to north, east to west,” he said. said Scott.

Scott said he hoped to have a better idea of ​​the extent of the damage by early next week.

Jim Liesenfelt, Brevard County assistant manager for the community services group, said the first reports have started coming in of damage to county park facilities.

This includes damage to beach crossings at Bonsteel Park and Juan Ponce de León Landing in the South Beach area.

There was also damage to the roof and fence at Kelly Park on Merritt Island.

More than 48% power loss

More than 48% of Florida Power & Light Co.’s 331,250 Brevard County customers lost power during Nicole’s total.

The FPL said 159,320 people had lost power, with power restored to 148,880 of them and 10,440 still without power as of 1 p.m. Friday.

Because high tropical storm-force winds were more prevalent in Brevard County during Nicole than they were during Hurricane Ian in late September, power outages were more pronounced in this storm.

“If you’re wondering why we had so many more power outages this storm than we had with Ian, the answer is that we saw a lot more wind than with Ian,” Scott said.

Scott said the gusts with Nicole were more in the 70mph range, compared to the gusts generally in the 50mph range with Ian.

“That’s the kind of thing you see with wind events,” Scott said.

Pike Electric workers restore power to Indialantic after power was interrupted by Hurricane Nicole.

Scott said FPL crews did a “phenomenal” job of restoring power to so many customers in such a short time – especially as they couldn’t get to the field for repair work until until the winds calm down.

He said the FPL representatives deployed to the county emergency operations center in Rockledge are the most popular people in the room as they continue to work on the power outages.

A man dies during a storm

A 68-year-old Port Canaveral man died early Thursday morning when his boat was rammed into the dock at Lee Wenner Park in Cocoa during Hurricane Nicole’s peak in Cocoa, police said.

Cocoa Police and Fire Department responded just after 4:33 a.m. Thursday to a call from a woman who said her husband, Thomas Whittle, was in distress, Cocoa Police Department spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez said. in an email. The couple were located on their yacht, which was moored at Lee Wenner Park.

Police and firefighters boarded the yacht and began CPR on Whittle, Martinez said. In doing so, the yacht broke away from the dock and began to drift, although rescuers were able to secure it again with a rope.

A man who attempted to ride out the storm died of injuries sustained when the boat rocked and slammed into the dock during the storm.

The couple were taken to a local hospital, where Whittle was pronounced dead. The cause of death has not been confirmed.

Detectives conduct a follow-up investigation.

Lee Wenner Park is located off Riveredge Boulevard.

Port Canaveral reopens

Port Canaveral reopened at noon on Friday, after getting clearance to do so from the US Coast Guard.

Three ships were due to be in port on Friday to drop off passengers and pick up a new group of passengers.

Among these, the Carnival Liberty and the Disney Wish were due to arrive later than expected on Friday. The Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas has postponed its arrival until Saturday.

The port was closed Wednesday and Thursday because of Nicole. No cruise ship was scheduled to port on those two days.

Be careful on the beaches

Cranis said choppy waves continue along Brevard’s beaches.

“We recommend people not go over the size in the next few days,” Cranis said. “And always swim where there is a lifeguard.”

Scott added that he would advise against going surfing this weekend.

Brevard County Fire Rescue released this statement on the beaches:

“Brevard County will be in ‘red flag’ conditions due to Hurricane Nicole. Strong rip currents and choppy waves are still present, extending into next week. Brevard County encourages all residents and beachgoers to use common sense; observe safety warnings posted on walkways and shore railings; and to avoid entering the water until conditions improve.”

The BCFR advised people to “please check with lifeguards as hazards such as rip currents, damaged crossings and storm debris may be present in areas”.

Closed storm shelters

Brevard County closed the last of its four hurricane shelters open for Hurricane Nicole on Friday.

At the height of the occupation, a total of 224 people took advantage of Brevard County emergency storm shelters in Micco, Sharpes, Viera and West Melbourne to get out of Nicole. There were also 20 pets in the shelters, split about evenly between dogs and cats.

Cleaning assistance is available

A home cleaning hotline has been opened to assist those who suffered damage from Hurricane Nicole.

Brevard County officials expect most volunteer groups to work through Nov. 25.

People in need of assistance can call 800-451-1954.

Volunteers may be able to help:

  • Cut down fallen trees.
  • Removal of drywall, flooring and appliances.
  • Tarpaulin roofs.
  • Mold mitigation.

The service is free, but not guaranteed.

Resident Reports Wanted

Brevard County officials are encouraging people whose property or home sustained damage as a result of Tropical Storm Nicole to submit photos or a description of the damage.

The information will help the county better understand the hardest hit areas in Brevard County. County officials emphasized that this form is not a request for assistance.

Brevard County Emergency Management uses this information to make informed decisions about operations to serve the community.

A damage assessment self-declaration form can be found at this link: https://www.crisistrack.com/public/brevardFL/request.html

Tyler Vazquez and Finch Walker contributed to this story.

Dave Berman is a business writer at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Berman at [email protected] Twitter: @bydaveberman.

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