Communities across SWFL prepare for tropical storm effects from Nicole

Published: Updated:
Man preparing ahead of Tropical Storm Nicole. (Credit: WINK News)

While picking up the pieces after Hurricane Ian, communities across Southwest Florida now face the possibility of another storm passing overhead.

Hurricane Nicole won’t bring conditions anywhere close to what Ian had, it still has the chance of bringing tropical storm winds and rain to areas that are not ready to weather another storm.

Cape Coral

They say it’s a bad hurricane season when one storm hits you. Nicole won’t hit Cape Coral as a hurricane, but its bands of wind and rain could create problems in the wake of Ian.

Many have spent the last several weeks living around a mess of debris; all they want is a break.

Cleaning up after Ian hasn’t been easy for people near the Cape Coral Yacht Basin. Michele Lincinault and Guyalaine Desrouchers are sick of it.

Originally from Canada, they arrived in the Cape a year ago, thinking this would be their vacation home. They said it has been anything but that.

“We like Cape Coral. We like the people we like to be here. But if it’s going like this all the time for us, it’s not vacation, and we were supposed to be on vacation,” said Desrouchers.

The couple has already repaired the damage Ian did to their home. While they know Nicole isn’t another Ian, they’re not taking any chances.

“We tied our boat, and we bring all the outside, you know, flowers and everything patio set in the house. Yeah. And we are going to close our shutters later,” said Desrouchers.

Ross Manhan is doing the same. Since Nicole formed in the Atlantic, he’s been busy making sure the storm doesn’t backtrack the cleanup he’s already done.

“We did a lot of extra cleanup in the yard, had a lot of stuff hauled ourselves out of the yard. So that way, we don’t get debris everywhere and just start over position. We don’t want to do that,” said Manhan.

Despite back-to-back storms, Manhan said he’s in good spirits.

“We’ve actually still been prepared from the last time, so we’ve got a lot of water and non-perishable stuff still on site. So you know, other than making sure we’d get something maybe to run the beer fridge,” Manhan said. “I’m hoping that if we do lose power, it’s not for long.”

If you have any loose items that you can secure, it is recommended that you try to do so.

North Fort Myers

People in North Fort Myers are nervous as Nicole approaches. They say they couldn’t prepare for this storm because the destruction from Hurricane Ian hasn’t been picked up.

Many of the families are also living in damaged homes. Storm debris lines every street in piles, some nearly as tall as the damaged homes.

“It destroys everything you can see over there, too the other trailers broke,” said Jose Velazco.

Stairs are ripped from trailers, and homes are in shambles, making preparing for Nicole nearly impossible, and many just don’t have the means.

“Up until now, we haven’t prepared. We’re praying to god that nothing major happens. First of all, we don’t really have anywhere to go. Second, we haven’t even recovered from the hurricane we just went through. We have no money and nowhere to go too,” said Norma Orozco.

Velazco did the only thing he could do. “I got ready, water and food, can, canned food.” He’s weary of the weather. “Not scared but nervous.”

There are still glimmers of light giving people peace and hope.

“At the moment, I feel calm, always trusting in god, who has kept us safe at every turn. There’s not much else to cling to,” said Orozco.

WINK News learned that Wednesday was the first day Orozco and Velazco’s community saw a dumpster to help remove the debris.


In Rotonda, residents are concerned about wind gusts because piles of debris are up and down the street, including on Caddy Road.

If strong winds get ahold of this debris, it could become a projectile, cause serious damage to homes, or just become another hassle to clean up while still recovering from Ian.

Neighbors have worked so hard to transform Caddy Road. One woman who lives here, Anne Ball, said there were flooded streets, and her roof collapsed as a result of Ian.

It looks a lot better, and there is still so much work to be done, so Ball is scared that Nicole could set the whole street back.

“I really dread it because there’s so much debris still on the streets. They are picking it up every day, the trucks are in here every day picking it up. They’ve gotten a lot of the vegetation up already, which, rightly so, is the first thing they pick up because once it gets dead, somebody flips a cigarette out of a window. And the first thing you know, half the streets on fire. So they’ve gotten most of the vegetation out. But there’s still an awful lot of debris on the street, which is now going to be blown all over the place. My garage is full of furniture out of other rooms. So my car is sitting outside. So I’m worried about that big piece of something hitting my car,” said Ball.

Ball said she brought all her garbage cans in, put any outdoor furniture inside, and now she’s just going to try to get a good night’s sleep.


In Englewood, the sound of generators still roars because many people haven’t had power since Ian hit.

“One thing I do miss is a hot shower. You know I have cold water, but it’s getting real sickening,” said Michael Doffinet.

While the world around them is returning to normal, Doffinet is still living a nightmare. They said they are at their breaking point.

“It’s very frustrating you get angry. Then you get sad,” Doffinet said.

“We’re not so good. So it is emotional,” said Coco Adamm.

Despite the pain, they’ve been powering through, working daily to clean up debris, put tarps on roofs, and help their neighbors who lost everything.

“We’re a big family,” said Adamm.

They are a family making progress, but now Nicole is headed their way. It won’t be anything like Ian, but even a little wind or rain could set them back.

Debris pile in Englewood. (Credit: WINK News)

“Where are these piles of debris gonna go if we have 70-mile-an-hour winds,” said Adamm.

“I’m so scared. What’s going to happen? Am I going to lose my home completely? I can’t take much more,” said Doffinet.

They’re worried that everything they’ve worked for this time around will be gone.

“I really don’t want to think about it, to be honest with you,” said Doffinet.

They are doing everything they can to prepare for whatever Nicole brings because it’s all they can do.

“I want to prepare. I want to do the best thing that’s right for everything. Real angry, confused. I don’t know where to go,” Doffinet said.

DeSoto County

In DeSoto County, the Peace River could rise by as much as five feet due to the rain brought by Nicole.

People who live along the Peace River are not wasting any time getting prepared. The area is known for flooding, and people there are not taking any risks.

Patrick Ussery lives along the Peace River. He’s a flood veteran. The water overflowed its banks before Ian and again during Ian.

The Peace River in DeSoto County. (Credit: WINK News)

Nicole is a third threat to his home.

“Just trying to keep the stuff that could fly around and become a bigger problem be out on the roadways, or at least get it small enough we can pick it back up and not have to wait for everybody to cut pieces and stuff,” said Ussery.

Ussery and his dog evacuated before Hurricane Ian arrived. When he returned, he saw that flooding had reached the roof of his home, and he lost pretty much everything.

“All the furniture, saved some clothes. But, it’s tools, it’s everything. I mean, it was kitchen-height water, so that kind of explains it in itself,” Ussery said.

Strong winds are expected to blow on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, so there’s a real possibility a tarp that is not securely hammered down could blow away. Then there’s the mess still lying around.

Dean Daniels lives on the DeSoto County line, and he has no big plans to prepare for Nicole. “No, I’m probably working during it. I literally have no answer for that. It’s a thunderstorm.”

He said his backyard looked like a lake after Ian, but incredibly, the hurricane spared his home.

Daniels said he’s not worried about Nicole, but Ussery said everyone should prepare anyway.

“Make sure you have water, a little bit of food, and hope for the best,” said Ussery.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.