Elkins Park couple impacted by Hurricane Nicole while on cruise

Friday, November 11, 2022
Elkins Park, Pa. couple impacted by Hurricane Nicole
Karen and John Hightower felt the impacts of Hurricane Nicole while on a Caribbean cruise: "The last night it got really, really rocky."

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Hurricane Nicole carved a path of destruction along the Florida coast when it made landfall Thursday as a Category 1 hurricane.

At least four people died in the storm that battered an already weary Florida that is still recovering from Hurricane Ian.

Officials say multiple homes toppled into the ocean and others are at imminent risk, leaving areas devastated.

"This has put some of those structures in jeopardy and they've been working very hard to make sure everybody's safe," said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Also feeling the impact of the hurricane were Karen and John Hightower of Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

Tropical Storm Nicole sent multiple homes toppling into the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday and threatened a row of high-rise condominiums in places where Hurricane Ian washed away the beach and destroyed seawalls only weeks ago.

They were on a five-day Caribbean cruise, celebrating John's 75th birthday. They said things got chaotic Wednesday night.

"When you went out on the deck, that's where the chairs were sliding back and forth, and you went to look over the side, and your face, I mean you just took a bath," said John Hightower. "You saw three-foot drops and your stomach and your meals started wanting to go back to the kitchen."

As strong winds and heavy rain fell across the state, the Hightowers were battling motion sickness and, safety concerns, and they were worried about getting home.

"The last night it got really, really rocky and we started hearing that we would be delayed getting back to port," said Karen Hightower. "We were worried about our flight."

The Hightowers were successfully able to get back to Philadelphia with only an hour delay.

The remnants of Nicole will bring downpours and gusty winds to our region Friday.

The heaviest rain moves out of the area overnight Saturday, which will allow for drier air to move in by mid-morning.

Officials in Atlantic City are monitoring the storm, and unlike Hurricane Ian a few weeks ago, major flooding is not expected at the shore this time around.