Florida death toll from Tropical Storm Nicole rises to 5

Tropical Storm Nicole has now claimed the lives of at least 5 people in Florida as it battered the state’s east coast on Thursday.

Two people were fatally electrocuted by a downed power line in Orlando, two others died in a crash on Florida’s turnpike and a fifth person died aboard a yacht, authorities said.

In the electrocution deaths, victims exited their cars being zapped by a downed power line at Bayfront Parkway and Pershing Avenue around 9:30 a.m., Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said at a news conference.

“It’s really a reminder to exercise extreme caution after a storm,” Demings said. “Never touch a downed power line. Always assume it is a live wire.

More than 300,000 power outages were reported across Florida by early Thursday afternoon.

This satellite image provided by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Nicole making landfall as a hurricane early Thursday November 10, 2022 near Florida.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the deaths.

Two more people died in a car crash around 5:45 a.m. on the Florida Turnpike in Orange County Thursday morning, Demings said.

The driver of a pickup truck lost control and swerved into the shoulder of the roadway, where a tow truck was parked, the Florida Highway Patrol told WESH 2 News.

The 53-year-old driver of the van rammed the 42-year-old tow truck driver who was standing behind his vehicle at the time. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

Damage to the Vero Beach boardwalk is pictured in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Nicole November 10, 2022 in Vero Beach, Florida.
Damage to the Vero Beach boardwalk is pictured in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Nicole November 10, 2022 in Vero Beach, Florida.

Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.

A fifth person died aboard a yacht moored during the height of the storm, according to reports.

Thomas Whittle, 68, died early Thursday morning on his boat docked at Lee Wenner Park in Cocoa on the state’s east coast, police told Florida Today.

The Port Canaveral man’s wife, who was also on the ship, called 911 just after 4:33 a.m. and said her husband was in distress.

Emergency personnel responded and boarded the boat where they began CPR on Whittle. As they did so, the yacht broke away from the dock and began to drift away, police said.

Rescuers were able to secure him with ropes and transport Whittle to a local hospital, but he could not be saved. His cause of death has not been revealed.

Tropical Storm Nicole made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane just south of Vero Beach, Florida around 3 a.m. Shortly after, Nicole lost wind strength and was downgraded to a tropical storm.

Still, the storm moved through the Sunshine State, wreaking havoc in many areas still recovering from Hurricane Ian six weeks ago.

Nicole hit Florida’s east coast with sustained winds of up to 75 miles per hour, dangerous storm surges, powerful surf and heavy rain.

A state of emergency was declared for 45 of the state’s 67 counties and many residents were forced to evacuate.

New York Post

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