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Central Florida prepares for Nicole

This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical Storm Nicole on Wednesday morning. Image: NOAA
This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Tropical Storm Nicole on Wednesday morning. Image: NOAA

The most recent update was at 4:30 a.m. Thursday, with information on Nicole's status. New updates are being posted here.

Hurricane Nicole made landfall near Vero Beach early Thursday and was soon downgraded to a tropical storm again.

Here's how Florida's emergency management director, Kevin Guthrie, summed up the likely impacts of the storm during a Wednesday statement to the media.

"This will bring significant coastal flooding, strong winds, storm surge, heavy rain, beach erosion, and isolated tornadoes," he said. "Due to the size of the storm, strong wind gusts will be felt across the entire Florida peninsula, Big Bend, and even over into the Panhandle."

Central Florida has prepared for those impacts.


Four Central Florida airports halted commercial operations Wednesday in preparation for the storm.

Daytona Beach International Airport closed at 12:30 p.m. All flights are canceled, with the exception of government, emergency, and humanitarian aircraft.

Orlando International Airport and Orlando-Sanford International Airport halted commercial operations at 4 p.m.

Melbourne Orlando International Airport closed its doors at 2 p.m. It anticipates reopening Thursday evening.


Public schools throughout Central Florida are closed Thursday because of the storm.

The College of Central Florida will be closed Thursday. In-person and online classes, as well as business operations, will be canceled at all CF sites. Scheduled activities have also been canceled.

FAMU Orlando College of Law and FAMU Orlando College of Pharmacy are closed Wednesday and Thursday.

UCF has announced that classes are canceled and campuses have suspended operations for Wednesday and Thursday. The university is closed Friday for Veteran’s Day. Student housing remains open and operational.

Saint Leo University will be closed Thursday at most of its Florida locations, including the Ocala Education Center. Wednesday's night classes will move online.

Valencia College campuses will close on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. and remain closed Thursday. All classes and campus activities are canceled. The college also announced that most classes will not meet Friday because of Veterans Day but offices will be open to assist students.


Universal Orlando has decided to close its Volcano Bay water park Wednesday ahead of Nicole. 

Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and CityWalk will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday and remain closed Thursday morning. 

Walt Disney World says its four theme parks will begin closing Wednesday at 5 p.m. The parks will remain closed Thursday morning. 

Disney’s mini-golf locations and water parks, including Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, will close on Thursday.

Other popular Central Florida attractions like Leu Gardens will close on Thursday, while the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is closed Wednesday and Thursday.  

SeaWorld, Gatorland, Legoland, and Peppa Pig Theme Park have not announced any closures as of mid-day Wednesday.

- Danielle Prieur, WMFE


  • All LYNX bus and NeighborLink services that stop running before 11 p.m. will operate as scheduled.
  • ACCESS LYNX and the Road Rangers will be off the road at 11 p.m. until further notice

[caption id="attachment_205691" align="alignnone" width="298"]

Nov. 9, 20222 LYNX schedule until further notice.[/caption]


Brevard recommended evacuation for the following groups Wednesday:
- Residents who live on the barrier islands, including areas from Kennedy Space Center to south beaches, and Merritt Island
- Residents in mobile homes or manufactured housing
- Residences in low-lying, flood-prone areas
- Any residents with special medical needs such as electrical dependence

Residents can call the Community Information Hotline at 211 for information regarding the storm.

Brevard County has four emergency shelters:
- Max K. Rodes Community Center, 3410 Flanagan Ave., West Melbourne4
- South Mainland Community Center, 3700 Allen Ave., Micco
- Viera Regional Community Center, 2300 Judge Fran Jamieson Way
- Walter Butler Community Center, 4201 N Cocoa Blvd, Cocoa

County officials say the shelters are for the general population, including families with pets, and people with special needs who have pre-registered or been screened by the Florida Department of Health-Brevard. People with special needs can call 211 to request transportation to a shelter.


Lake County's Citizens Information Line transitioned to 24/7 assistance on Wednesday. Residents needing information should call 352-253-9999.

Lake County public schools will be closed Thursday, because of Tropical Storm Nicole, and Friday for Veterans Day.

The district cites concern for buses traveling during high winds.

"Winds are expected in excess of 35 mph, which can become dangerous for student transport," a news release states.

Two residential shelters opened on Wednesday. The shelters can accommodate residents with disabilities, pets and the general population.

They are located at:
- Umatilla Elementary
- Lost Lake Elementary


The Marion County Emergency Management Citizen’s Information Line is 352-369-7500. It will be open until 10 p.m. on Wednesday and from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday.

Marion County or city sandbag locations will be open until late Wednesday afternoon or evening. Here are the locations:
- Belleview Sports Complex, 6501 SE 107th St. The site closes at 7 p.m.
- Dunnellon City Complex, 11808 N Ohio St. The site closes at 5 p.m.
- Ocala's Tuscawilla Park, 800 NE Sanchez Ave. The site closes at 6 p.m.

The sandbag locations are self-serve, with a limit of 10 bags per vehicle.

Marion County has also opened a special needs shelter in the Marion County Sheriff's Office Multipurpose Room, 3300 NW 10th St. in Ocala.


The Orange County Government Emergency Operations Center has two emergency shelters:

– South Econ Recreation Center/South Econ Community Park, 3850 S. Econlockhatchee Trail, Orlando
– West Orange Recreation Center, 309 SW Crown Point Road, Winter Garden

The shelters are pet friendly.

Orange County residents requiring a special needs/medical shelter are urged to call 3-1-1.

City of Orlando

The City of Orlando activated its Emergency Operations Center to a Level 1 "full activation" Wednesday evening.

The city is asking residents to limit water use during the storm. Additionally, they're asking residents to secure any yard waste and not block any storm drains with vehicles.


Osceola has declared a local state of emergency. But, as of Wednesday morning, there were no evacuations ordered and no shelters had been opened.

Emergency management officials said the forecast is for winds of 50 to 60 mph beginning Wednesday afternoon and continuing Thursday.

Rainfall amounts could be three to four inches.

A self-serve sandbag site at Osceola Heritage Park, 1211 Shakerag Road in Kissimmee, was set to close at noon on Wednesday.


Seminole County has a Citizens Information Line at (407) 665-0000. The county also urges residents to sign up for emergency alerts at AlertSeminole.org.

Seminole County has opened two pet-friendly emergency shelters:

General population
- Lawton Chiles Middle School, 1240 Sanctuary Dr, Oviedo

Special needs
- Bentley Elementary School, 2190 S Oregon Ave, Sanford

County officials say the shelters should be used as a last resort and cots are not provided at general population shelters.



County officials held a press conference reminding residents of a mandatory evacuation was in place for flood zones and along the coastal community. Additionally, Sheriff Mike Chitwood said a curfew is in place from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Officials installed the curfew out of precaution and a lack of knowledge of what Nicole might do to structures already weakened by Hurricane Ian.

Chitwood added there is no legal for violating curfew, but violators could face different consequences.

"Things could get really bad. You might not get off the peninsula, why put yourself and your family in danger? Drive 50 miles inland for a day and then come back," he said. "The curfew was there to protect everybody. Let first responders do their jobs. Keep the unwanted traffic off the street. We don't want to go out and rescue people because they were stupid. You want to have to go out and commit rescues because these people really need your help."

The Volusia County Citizens Information Center is open 24/7 until further notice. Residents may call 866-345-0345 for information on shelters, road and bridge closures, and additional storm-related resources.

The county has issued a mandatory evacuation order for some locations and residents. Here are the details from volusia.org:

Volusia County has issued a mandatory evacuation order beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday for all residences and businesses that are:
- East of the Intracoastal Waterway
- All manufactured and mobile home dwellers east of Interstate 95
- All low-lying areas and other areas prone to flooding
- All campsites and RV recreational parks
Evacuees are encouraged to stay with family, friends, or an inland hotel and must complete their evacuation by 4 p.m. Wednesday because conditions will begin to deteriorate significantly.

The Volusia County Council has issued an emergency countywide curfew in effect from 7 p.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday. The curfew exemptions include: law enforcement, workers traveling from their jobs, and all emergency workers.


The county and school district are operating four shelters:

Two general population shelters:
- Creekside Middle School, 6801 Airport Road, Port Orange
- University High School, 1000 W. Rhode Island Ave., Orange City

Two special needs shelters:
- Heritage Middle School, 1001 Parnell Court, Deltona
- David C. Hinson Middle School, 1860 N. Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach

All four shelters will accept pets. Those staying at a shelter with their pets must bring necessary pet items and supplies.

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.