Nicole downgraded to tropical storm, centered over east-central Florida:
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Nicole has been downgraded to a tropical storm and is centered over east-central Florida, the National Hurricane Centre confirmed Thursday morning.
Strong winds, dangerous storm surge and waves, and heavy rains continue over a large area.
All watches and warnings have been cancelled for Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
Still, Broward public schools will be closed Thursday. Miami-Dade County Public Schools confirmed classes will resume Thursday but all public schools in South Florida will be closed Friday in observance of Veterans Day.
The Archdiocese of Miami confirmed that only its Catholic schools in Broward County would be closed Thursday.
According to the National Hurricane Centre's latest advisory, Nicole was about 25 miles northwest of Vero Beach, and it was moving west-northwest at 14 mph with 70 mph sustained winds.
The rare November hurricane could dump as much as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain over the Blue Ridge Mountains by Friday, the National Hurricane Center said. Flash and urban flooding will be possible as the rain spreads into the eastern Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic and New England through Saturday.
The storm proved deadly Thursday as two people were killed by electrocution when they touched downed power lines in the Orlando area, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said. "Never touch a downed power line," the sheriff's office said in a tweet.
Utility workers restored power to multiple counties throughout Thursday. Nearly all power was restored in Indian River County as of 10:30 p.m. There were only 80 Florida Power & Light customers out of power in Martin County as of 8 p.m.
By 10 p.m. Thursday, Nicole weakened to a tropical depression but will continue to bring heavy rains to portions of the south eastern U.S, according to the hurricane centre.
"This is a life-threatening situation," wrote Jack Beven, a senior hurricane specialist at the hurricane centre, in an advisory. People in the region, he said, "should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions."
Tornado watches were issued for parts of Florida and Georgia. St. Augustine, where the iconic Bridge of Lions spanning the Intracoastal Waterway was under siege from Nicole, was briefly under a tornado warning Thursday morning.
"The city is flooding at a rapid pace and the Bridge of Lions is closed," the city said in a Twitter post. "There are several roads that are impassable and closed, more than the usual flooded areas."