Hurricane Nicole hits Florida

Hurricane Nicole hits Florida


Hurricane Nicole struck Florida’s Atlantic coast, meteorologists said Thursday, triggering mandatory evacuation orders.

The Category 1 hurricane, which is rare this late in the year, comes just weeks after Florida was struck by Hurricane Ian, one of the strongest storms to hit the United States.

Nicole packs sustained maximum winds of up to 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour and makes landfall “along the east coast of Florida south of Vero Beach,” the US-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a statement at 0800 GMT Thursday.

The storm swept across the Bahamas on Wednesday, with the extent of the damage not immediately clear.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Florida’s east coast from the city of Boca Raton to the border between Flagler and Volusia counties, the NHC said.

45 of the state’s 67 counties were under a state of emergency, Gov. Ron DeSantis said, while four counties were under mandatory evacuation orders, according to the state’s Department of Emergency Management.

DeSantis said 16,000 people were recruited to respond to power outages after the storm and 600 National Guardsmen were activated.

Ian’s death toll is more than 100 in Florida alone.

– NASA Launch Delay –

Nicole has raised concerns that a long-delayed NASA rocket launch could be disrupted again.

The storm is heading toward NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, located near Florida’s eastern city of Orlando, after already disrupting plans to launch the agency’s most powerful rocket next week.

The Artemis 1 mission was scheduled to launch on November 14, but NASA said Tuesday it would be delayed until November 16.

A backup start date has been set for November 19th.

NASA said it would leave the giant 322-foot (98-meter) SLS rocket on the launch pad where it was placed a few days earlier.

Some experts have raised concerns that the missile, estimated to cost several billion dollars, could be damaged by debris from the hurricane if left unprotected.

After two launch attempts this summer were aborted due to technical problems, the rocket had to be returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building for protection from Hurricane Ian.

The unmanned mission aims to bring the United States one step closer to returning astronauts to the moon, five decades after humans last set foot on its surface.

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