For the second time in six weeks, a potential hurricane is heading for Florida and is expected to impact travel along the East Coast of the U.S. from airlines to theme parks.
In a bit of a surprising late-season development, Tropical Storm Nicole is projected to become a hurricane and reach landfall – this time on the east coast in South Florida – on Thursday. It is then projected to move both west and north, hitting an already-ravaged Southwest Florida battered from Hurricane Ian, and then continue into Georgia and up the coast.
On September 28, Ian made landfall in Fort Myers on Florida’s Gulf Coast and devastated the region with a Category 4 hurricane that measured winds near 140 miles per hour and a resulting 16-foot storm surge. Southwest Florida has barely even begun to scratch the surface of rebuilding infrastructure and its heavily reliant tourism industry.
As of 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning, airlines have not made any official announcements on waiving change fees. But carriers traditionally do relieve passengers from that fee and are expected to do so as the forecast becomes clearer.
Cruise lines are already reacting.
According to The Points Guy, three cruise lines have already rerouted ships or changed itineraries in the Caribbean due to Nicole. That includes Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas, which left Port Newark in New Jersey on Sunday for seven days. The boat was originally scheduled to go to Florida and the Bahamas but instead will now arrive in Haiti on Wednesday.
High winds and rains are forecast for Orlando and the area’s theme parks, but none of the attractions have been scheduled to close as of Tuesday morning.