INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Officials here want residents of coastal and flood-prone areas to evacuate as Tropicspanl Storm Nicole tspankes spanim spant the Trespansure Cospanst, but the evacuations remain voluntary, they said Wednesday.
Anyone who lives east of U.S. 1, including the barrier islands, in flood prone or low-lying areas, in vulnerable housing — such as mobile homes — or with medical conditions is urged to evacuate, emergency officials reiterated Wednesday morning.
Weather here is expected to deteriorate starting around 1 p.m., said County Emergency Management Coordinator Ryan Lloyd.
“We’re expecting tropical-storm conditions, potentially hurricane conditions, for roughly a 24-hour period,” Lloyd said. “We expect sustained winds of 55-70 mph and wind gusts of up to 85 mph.”
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When will bridges close?
The county will close bridges once sustained winds reach 45 mph, Sheriff Eric Flowers said. He urged residents to find a safe spot, stay indoors and off the roads Wednesday afternoon and through the night.
“Please, get to where you’re going and stay there for the night,” he said.
To make return trips easier for coastal evacuees, Lloyd recommended evacuees only move tens of miles from the coast, rather than hundreds, as the worst effects of the storm likely will be felt along the coastline, he said.
“A voluntary evacuation could be as simple as going to a local friend or relative’s home that is more resilient to storm conditions,” Lloyd said.
The county likely will likely see 4-6 inches of rain, 3-5 feet of storm surge and 10-12 foot waves, he said.
The county activated two shelters:
- General population and pet friendly shelter: Freshmen Learning Center, 1507 19th Street, Vero Beach
- Special needs shelter: Treasure Coast Elementary School, 8955 85th Street, Sebastian
Indian River schools and government offices are closed for the rest of the week. City and county beaches, too, are closed.
The county hotline for non-emergency, storm-related questions was activated 7 a.m. Wednesday and will run 24 hours a day until the storm passes. Residents can reach the hotline at 772-226-4000.