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Tropical Storm Nicole: Evacuations, shelters, sandbags and school closures announced in Central Florida

This satellite image provide by NOAA shows the huge expanse of Tropical Storm Nicole over the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday. Credit: NOAA
This satellite image provide by NOAA shows the huge expanse of Tropical Storm Nicole over the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday. Credit: NOAA

This live story is being updated throughout the day. It was updated most recently at 5:00 p.m. with new information on Orange County Public Schools, shelters, and Volusia evacuations and curfew.

Volusia County has issued an evacuation order for certain areas along the coast and announced a curfew for Wednesday night as Tropical Storm Nicole gains strength and approaches the east coast of Florida.

Brevard County is recommending that residents in low-lying areas and the barrier island or in mobile homes seek refuge elsewhere.

Several counties have announced school closures and some are opening shelters.

Nicole is expected to become a hurricane and then make landfall early Thursday morning in southeast Florida. Forecasts say it will move quickly across the state. The storm is massive with its tropical-storm-force winds extending 380 miles from its center.


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Central Florida counties are urging residents to have a plan and prepare for the storm

BREVARD COUNTY

Brevard County is recommending evacuations as Tropical Storm Nicole nears the Florida east coast.

“What we’re saying is that people that are in manufactured homes, low-lying areas, the barrier island, look at your scenario and determine if you want to evacuate," said Sheriff Wayne Ivey. "We recommend those areas to evacuate. We recommend you come to one of our shelters. Go stay with somebody else that’s over in another direction of the state."

Shelters in Brevard will open Wednesday. Bridges will remain open, and there will be no curfew.

Brevard Public Schools has announced that its schools and offices will be closed Wednesday and Thursday due to the storm. All school activities, events, and programs for those days are canceled. Schools were already closed Friday for Veterans Day.

Brevard County is distributing free sandbags to county residents until 6 p.m. Tuesday at the following locations:
- Wickham Park, 2500 Parkway Drive, Melbourne
- Across from the Brevard County Jail, 855 Camp Road, Cocoa

Bags are provided and filled by workers at the sandbag sites. There's a limit of 10 bags per vehicle.

LAKE COUNTY

Lake County Schools has announced that after-school programs will be canceled Wednesday, except the Extended Learning Centers, which are open until 6 p.m.

Schools will be closed on Thursday due to Tropical Storm Nicole. They will be closed on Friday, as well, for Veterans Day.

The county has established its Citizens Information Line, which will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Residents needing information should call 352-253-9999.

The county has six sandbag locations operating from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until the storm.

Residents must bring their own shovels and are limited to 10 bags of sand per household.

Here are the locations:
- Fire Station 10, 23023 State Road 40, Astor
- East Lake Sports and Community Complex, 24809 Wallick Road, Sorrento
- P.E.A.R. Park, 26701 US 27, Leesburg
- North Lake Regional Park, 40730 Roger Giles Road, Umatilla
- Minneola Athletic Complex, 1300 Fosgate Road, Minneola
- Lake County Fire Station 112 (Four Corners), 16240 County Rd 474, Clermont

The Minneola Athletic Complex and P.E.A.R. Park in Leesburg are offering assistance to residents who need it.

MARION COUNTY

Marion County Public Schools is canceling classes Thursday as well as all extra-curricular activities Wednesday afternoon. The district plans to reopen Friday pending weather and safety inspections scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Marion will also be canceling the annual Veterans Day Ceremony.

Marion is not opening any schools for shelters.

ORANGE COUNTY 

Orange County Public Schools announced that Wednesday will be a regular early dismissal day. All schools will be closed Thursday and Friday. All after-school extracurricular activities and extended day programs are canceled Wednesday through Friday.

The Orange County Government Emergency Operations Center is opening two shelters at 7 a.m. Wednesday:

- 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.

Orange County has four self-serve sandbag locations open Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.:
- Downey Park – 10107 Flowers Ave., Orlando
- Fort Christmas Historical Park – 1300 Fort Christmas Road, Christmas
- Clarcona Horse Park/Clarcona Outpost – 3535 Damon Road, Apopka
- Multicultural Center – 7149 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando

Residents will need to show a valid ID with an Orange County address and will need to bring their own shovels. They will receive up to 10 bags to fill.

City of Orlando

The city is making sand and bags available for its residents at 1010 Woods Ave. until 3 p.m. Tuesday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The limit is 10 bags, and you'll need ID to prove you live in Orlando.

The city is asking businesses and residents to limit water use before and during Tropical Storm Nicole.
That includes:
- Limiting the amount of toilet flushing.
- Not running dishwashers and washing machines.
- Limiting the water used during a shower or to fill the bathtub.
- Turning off irrigation.
- Not doing pressure washing, car washing, or any other unnecessary outdoor use.

University of Central Florida

UCF is suspending campus operations, as well as online classes, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, the campus is already scheduled to be closed due to Veterans Day. Additionally, all academic assignments, including all classes with online work, are suspended.

UCF Housing will remain open through the storm for all residents.

Campus dining halls will remain open until 3 p.m. Wednesday.

OSCEOLA COUNTY

Osceola County Public Schools has announced that students will be released an additional hour early on Wednesday, which is already an early release day, and school will be closed on Thursday. The schools are closed on Friday, as well, for Veterans Day.

Osceola County emergency managers say Tropical Storm Nicole could bring tropical storm-force winds to southeastern Osceola County as early as Wednesday morning.

Storm threats include high winds, heavy rain, and a low chance of tornadoes.

Residents wishing to fill sandbags can come to Osceola Heritage Park, 1211 Shakerag Road in Kissimmee, until 6 p.m. Tuesday.

People will need to bring their own shovels. There's a limit of 25 per family.

SEMINOLE COUNTY

The district is preparing two schools as shelters for residents, and will possibly prepare a third.

Kids zone and beyond and 21-century sites will be open Tuesday afternoon. All other after-school activities will be closed starting Wednesday. District schools will also be closed to students and 10-month employees from Wednesday to Friday. Eleven and 12-month employees will receive updates later Tuesday.

Seminole County has three sandbag sites all of which are self-serving. Residents are encouraged to bring their own shovels and will be limited to 15-bags per person.  County locations will have help for elderly people and those with special needs.

County locations
(Up to 15 bags per household)
– Old Geneva Volunteer Fire Station, 217 Second St., Geneva (Monday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and Tuesday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.)
– Lake Monroe Wayside Park, 4150 Highway 17, Sanford (Monday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Tuesday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.)
– BOOMBAH Sports Complex, 3450 E. Lake Mary Blvd., Sanford (Monday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Tuesday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.)

City locations
(Check with the city for details and hours)
– City of Longwood: Candyland Park, 599 Longdale Ave.
– City of Winter Springs: Central Winds Park, 1000 Central Winds Drive
– City of Altamonte: Merrill Park, 985 Merrill Park Drive
City of Sanford: Public Works Complex, 800 W. Fulton St.
– City of Oviedo – Public Works Complex, 1725 Evans St. (Monday 12-5 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.)

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Volusia County has issued an evacuation order for certain areas along the coast and a county-wide curfew for Wednesday night.

Sheriff Michael Chitwood says the storm's impact on an area already damaged by Hurricane Ian will be "unprecedented."

"This is a real safety hazard to our residents and to our community," Chitwood said. "So we need you to heed this. This is not the time to have hurricane fatigue.

The mandatory evacuation is for areas east of the Intercoastal Waterway, mobile homes east of I-95, low-lying or flood-prone areas, and all campsites and RV parks.

Residents should be out by 4 p.m. Wednesday.

County Manager George Recktenwald says they should take this storm seriously.

"If you live in an area that has been issued a mandatory evacuation order," he said, "please follow this order. Our infrastructure, especially along the coastline, is very vulnerable due to the effects of Hurricane Ian."

Recktenwald says the weakened infrastructure will lead to more damage and areas that had flooding after Ian could have it again.

The curfew is from 7 p.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday.

Schools, shelters, and sandbags

Volusia County public schools will be closed Wednesday and Thursday because of Tropical Storm Nicole. The schools are also closed on Friday for Veterans Day.

There will be no school-sponsored activities on Wednesday or Thursday, and administrative offices will be closed as well.

The district also announced four schools being used as emergency shelters.

Two are special needs shelters:
- Hinson Middle School
- Heritage Middle School

And two for the general population:
- Creekside Middle School
- University High School

All four are pet friendly.

Volusia County has opened its Citizens Information Center until at least 5 p.m. Tuesday. Residents can call 866-345-0345 for information on sandbags, shelters and road closures.

Volusia County will provide sand and empty sandbags to residents from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the parking lot of the Volusia County Correctional Facility, 1354 Indian Lake Road, Daytona Beach.

Some cities will also provide sand and sandbags. To learn about additional sand and sandbag distribution, visit volusia.org/pin.