Osceola County is urging residents to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Nicole, which is currently located about 80 miles off the coast of Palm Beach on Florida’s east coast. Forecasters are predicting Osceola to receive about 4-8 inches of rain, with strong winds between 60 and 70 mph and the possibility of tornadoes. Osceola County will likely see the strongest wind and heaviest rainfall early Thursday between 2 am and 10 am.

Due to the trajectory and intensity of the storm, Waste Management suspended Thursday operations. It plans to resume operations on Friday (Nov. 11) with its Thursday customers. The company will also operate on Saturday (Nov. 12). The company notes that resuming “post storm” operations will depend on storm damage safety assessments and open disposal facilities.

Officials said lakes and water systems should be able to handle Nicole’s rainfall without the threat of flooding as some residents experienced as a result of Hurricane Ian, when 15 inches of rain was recorded in Osceola.

There were no evacuations and no shelters opened ahead of the storm. Most government offices closed early Wednesday and will remained closed through Veterans Day and the weekend, re-opening on Monday.

CFX and Osceola County have temporarily suspended cash toll collection on Osceola Parkway to ensure the safety of toll collectors. Anticipate cash toll collection to resume, Friday, November 11 at 6:00 a.m. All drivers paying tolls without a transponder will be charged at the cash rate via toll invoice during this time.

Residents should stay off the roads during the peak of Nicole’s wind and rain between 2 am and 10 am Thursday. If you must travel:

  • Avoid downed power lines and report the location to 911.
  • Stay away from animals. Due to the storm, many wild and domestic animals may be displaced and disoriented.
  • Avoid standing water and holes in roads as they may be deeper than they appear.

Residents should stay informed by monitoring weather reports, checking www.osceola.org and by receiving emergency phone alerts through Osceola’s free AlertOsceola service, by texting the word “alertosceola” to 888777.If there is an emergency, call 9-1-1 but keep in mind that response may be delayed once sustained winds reach 45 mph.

“Little change in strength is expected this evening, and Nicole is forecast to remain a hurricane until it reaches the east coast of Florida tonight or early Thursday,” the hurricane center said.

Hurricane Nicole looks to be setting a record as the strongest storm to make landfall in the U. S. this last in the year.