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Could Tropical Storm Nicole Disrupt Travel Across Florida, East Coast?

by Aoife O’Riordan

Nov 9, 2022

© Griffinyx | Dreamstime.com

eFlyer Lead

Tropical storm Nicole was recently spotted forming in the Atlantic Ocean with a projected path toward the east coast of South Florida. Expected to become a hurricane by the time it makes landfall, the storm marks the second hurricane in just six weeks.

Should Nicole hit Florida as a hurricane, it will be just the fourth on record to make landfall in the United States in the month of November. Meteorologists expect the storm to move both north and west through Florida, sending Southwest Florida through a second wave of wind and rain as the region still recovers from Hurricane Ian.

In response to news of the growing and moving storm, companies in the travel industry either already responded or plan to react as the storm nears the Florida coast. Cruise lines rerouted ships or changed itineraries in the Caribbean because of Nicole. Ships like Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas, which departed from Port Newark, New Jersey, last Sunday, now sails for Haiti instead of its planned destinations in Florida and the Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas have also rerouted. Both departed Florida Nov. 7, but Liberty of the Seas now heads to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, instead of the Bahamas as originally planned. Independence of the Seas rerouted to Falmouth, Jamaica, instead of the Bahamas. Royal Caribbean sees several other ships change tineraries, with many removing Perfect Day from the schedule as the destination expects to experience wind and rain from Nicole. Two Carnival Cruise Line ships also face changes due to the storm.

Other parts of Florida like Orlando will also experience a disruption in travel. High winds and rain predicted for Orlando mean many of the city’s theme parks may close. Walt Disney World parks announced a phased closure starting today at 5 p.m., with Magic Kingdom and EPCOT planning to close at 7 p.m. Similarly, Universal Orland Resort, including CityWalk, plan to close at 5 p.m. today.

As of this morning several airlines plan to close today and tomorrow. Daytona Beach International Airport closed at 12:30 p.m. today and will reopen at 4 a.m. on Friday. All flights in and out of Palm Beach International Airport have been cancelled, with hopes to reopen Friday at 4 a.m., as well. Orlando International Airport will halt all commercial operations at 4 p.m. today.

Coastal cities and towns like Boca Raton, Daytona Beach, and North Palm Beach anticipate storm surges. Many beaches will shut down, further affecting travelers’ plans. The St. Johns River also expects to rise. As the storm barrels through Florida, Georgia will also be affected, with places like Altahama Sound preparing for the storm.

The Bahamas also expects wind and rain from the impending storm. The Abacos, Berry Islands, Bimini and Grand Bahama Island have issued hurricane warnings, with reports of long lines at gas stations and grocery stores occurring across the islands. Some hotels began boarding up windows to prepare for the storm. Authorities issued a warning to travelers that airports and seaports will close as the storm nears and will not reopen until Thursday.

Did any of your travel plans change due to the storm? Do you have an upcoming trip planned to Florida, Georgia or the Caribbean? Tell us your thoughts. Email us at [email protected]. Please include your full name and location.

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