Florida's Ports Reopen After Hurricane Nicole

NOAA Hurricane Nicole
Hurricane Nicole makes landfall near Vero Beach, Florida, Nov. 9 (NOAA)

Published Nov 10, 2022 8:36 PM by The Maritime Executive

Hurricane Nicole arrived on Florida's Atlantic coast as a Category 1 storm on Wednesday, causing substantial damage to waterfront property in several counties and taking out the power supply for more than 300,000 homes. A major thoroughfare, State Road A1A, has been significantly damaged in an area south of Jacksonville. 

Storm surge and wave action were at the top of the list of threats, especially after the coastal erosion effects of Hurricane Ian, and the areas hardest hit were affected by heavy waves and flooding.

Ports from Miami to Jacksonville were closed in advance of the storm, and some remained closed Thursday for post-storm damage assessments. At Port Canaveral, tide gauges briefly hit major flood stage overnight before falling back to normal levels in the morning. No damage has been reported at the port, and an assessment is under way. Canaveral is a major cruise port, and at least one cruise ship - Carnival Liberty - is awaiting permission to re-enter and disembark passengers.

Jaxport, located to the north, remains closed to marine traffic for the time being. The port's land side will reopen for tenants at 0630 hours on Friday, and truck gates are expected to reopen shortly after. One cruise ship, Carnival Elation, is delayed at sea while awaiting permission to return to the pier at Jaxport; Carnival said that it hopes to have permission to enter port and berth on Friday morning.

Port Everglades and PortMiami were unharmed, and traffic in and out resumed swiftly as soon as the Coast Guard gave the all clear. On Florida's Gulf Coast, the Port of Tampa Bay was unaffected by the storm's passing remnants, and it reopened to traffic on Thursday. 

Crowley's shipping division, one of the three operators on the Puerto Rico-to-Florida route, reported minor vessel delays but no damage. Its truck gates in Jacksonville will reopen Friday.