Earlier this week, tropical storm Nicole developed in the Atlantic Ocean as a hybrid storm; however, by Tuesday, it had intensified into a tropical storm.
Nicole will likely head near the Bahamas islands before becoming a Category 1 hurricane and making landfall on Florida’s southeast coast by early Thursday. Southwest Florida, which was already severely damaged by Hurricane Ian, may also be affected.
AccuWeather reports that “a water level rise of 3-6 feet is forecast with locally higher levels, and that rise will occur not only on waters near where Nicole makes landfall along the central portion of the Florida east coast but in areas hundreds of miles farther north”
According to hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach, this is the second time in six weeks that Florida has had to prepare for a potential hurricane. If Nicole makes ashore, it would be unprecedented because just one hurricane has ever made landfall in the US mainland after November.
Several Florida airports have decided to close Wednesday. Orlando and Orlando Sanford International Airports ceased operations at 4 p.m., Melbourne Orlando International Airport closed at 2 p.m., and Daytona Beach International Airport closed as early as 12:30 p.m.
Numerous airports in the Eastern Caribbean and Florida have received travel warnings from major airlines that customers affected by Nicole may rebook flights under certain circumstances. Currently, American Airlines has warned travelers for 20 airports, United for 8 airports and Delta for 15 airports.
Cruise line itineraries have already been changed. Disney’s Wish and Carnival Liberty have both skipped a planned stop in Nassau, Bahamas, in favor of an additional day at sea. Instead of the planned private bays, they will now make a stop in Cozumel, Mexico.
Meanwhile, Carnival Elation, Norwegian Getaway and Disney Dream also forwent their exclusive island itineraries in favor of a day at sea or elsewhere. Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas, which was scheduled to sail from New Jersey to Florida via the Bahamas, changed its destination to Haiti.