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Palm Beach County lifts evacuation order and schools are back open. Here's what else to know after Tropical Storm Nicole

Shortly after Nicole hit Florida's east coast as a Category 1 hurricane on Thursday, it was downgraded to a tropical storm.

The rare November system brought heavy rain, damaging storm surge, and strong winds across the weary-weather peninsula. As Nicole travels north, forecasters advise people to understand hazards will continue across the state on Thursday. Emergency managers also advised residents to be mindful of isolated tornadoes and elevated tides along the east coast.

In South Florida, most businesses, government offices and services were back to normal operations.

Here's what else you should know:

Palm Beach County's Emergency Management Center 

County officials said evacuation orders for barrier islands, mobile homes and low-lying coastal areas, from Lake Worth Beach and Lantana to Palm Beach, have been lifted after crews assessed the area.

Officials said, “major roads have been deemed clear, traffic signals are working and county staff completed the initial damage assessment of county buildings, beaches and the community overall.” State drawbridges in the county are to resume normal operations.

The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County resumed all garbage, recycling and bulk trash pickup on Thursday. A number of municipalities along the eastern seaboard, including Pompano Beach, Lauderdale By The Sea and Riviera Beach, also resumed pickup services.

Waste Management suspended collections on Thursday and are expected to resume operations by Friday. Trash services in Delray Beach, Lake Worth Beach and Lighthouse Point were also suspended Thursday.

Power outage update

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, Florida Power & Light was trying to restore outages to more than 2,700 homes in Palm Beach County after Nicole brought heavy rain, strong winds, storm surge and minor coastal flooding across the region.

Read more: Sprawling Tropical Storm Nicole drenching Florida, Georgia


The Palm Beach International Airport in Palm Beach County resumed operations Thursday at 8 a.m. Many airlines are expected to resume flights, according to PBIA. Some flights may be delayed, so check your flight status with your airline before you head to the airport.

Tri-Rail will resume services Friday, Nov. 11. The Palm Tran, Palm Beach County’s transportation service, resumed regular services at noon on Thursday. The service may experience some delays. For real-time bus information, visit palmtran.org.

Parks, beaches, recreation

All county-operated facilities, including beaches and parks, will be closed Thursday, Nov. 10.

Historic Broward County pier damaged

Hurricane Nicole coincided with king tides in South Florida, causing flooding and damage to some areas of Broward county — and a historic pier.

A chunk from the middle of the fishing pier was wiped out by Hurricane Nicole last night.

Chris Vincent, the town’s mayor, said the pier is privately owned, but the town will do what it can to support the owner.

The original pier was built in 1941, then had to be rebuilt when it started falling apart in 1963.

The pier has suffered damage before from storms, including Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and Hurricane Irma in 2017.

On Thursday, a large section of the pier was completely gone. The pier has been condemned until repairs can be made — but Anglin Restaurant at the base of the pier is still operating.

A shelter haven for pets in Boynton Beach during Hurricane Nicole

A temporary pet-friendly shelter in Boynton Beach was restricted to animals only during Hurricane Nicole while their human companions stayed at a nearby high school shelter. Just before Nicole struck Florida’s east coast, veterinarians were taking care of about 20 dogs and ten cats at a county-run pet shelter at the West Boynton Recreation Center.

Stephanie Moore, the manager of the county's Animal Care and Control, said pet owners were directed to a shelter at the nearby Park Vista Community High School.

Moore said there’s a special kind of bond that animals have with owners during disaster preparations.

“I think they can feel the stress that their owner feels, and I know my animals do. Mine this morning knew that they were leaving with me,” Moore said. “Prior to COVID, we did allow people to come, but since COVID, we have been restricted to just animals.”

Moore said counties across the nation have seen an increase in pet evacuation plans since the deadly 2005 Hurricane Katrina.

“The big shift happened during Hurricane Katrina,” she said. “A lot of people lost their lives and would not risk leaving their animals behind, and so a lot of pet-friendly shelters have been opening.”

Palm Beach County lifted all evacuation orders and the county’s Animal Care and Control will resume its regular services in West Palm Beach on Saturday.

The Associated Press and News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

Wilkine Brutus is the Palm Beach County Reporter for WLRN. The award-winning journalist produces stories on topics surrounding local news, culture, art, politics and current affairs. Contact Wilkine at wbrutus@wlrnnews.org
Katie Lepri Cohen is WLRN's engagement editor. Her work involves distributing and amplifying WLRN's journalism on social media, managing WLRN's social accounts, writing and editing newsletters, and leading audience-listening efforts. Reach out via email at klcohen@wlrnnews.org.
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