Miami, Nov 10 (EFE).- Two people in Orlando died after stepping on a downed power line as Tropical Storm Nicole crossed Florida early Thursday, authorities said.
“We hate to bring you this tragic news, but two people are dead after they were electrocuted by a downed power line at Bayfront Pkwy & Pershing Ave early today. Never touch a downed power line,” the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter.
The director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Kevin Guthrie, had urged residents in Nicole’s path to remain indoors as much as possible to avoid coming into contact with live power lines affected by the storm.
Nicole was a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h (75 mph) when it made landfall around 3:00 am Thursday south of Vero Beach on Florida’s Atlantic coast.
The system weakened rapidly to a tropical storm and by 1:00 pm, the wind speed had fallen to 70 km/h (45 mph), according to the latest bulletin from the United States National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Nicole was located 70 km north of Tampa and moving northwest at 24 km/h (15 mph), the NHC said, adding that winds of tropical-storm force extended up to 555 km (345 mi) outward from the center.
The NHC forecast calls for the storm to turn north and then northeast, passing over Georgia before it becomes absorbed into a large weather front.
Orlando International Airport shut down ahead of the storm’s arrival, while Tampa International continued to operate, though 65 flights were canceled, website Flight Aware said.
The website Poweroutage.us said that nearly 350,000 customers in Florida were without electricity due to Nicole.
Nicole’s impact was felt across much of Florida. In Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, 144 km (89 mi) south of where the storm made landfall, the combination of strong winds and high surf destroyed a fishing pier. EFE