'I hope everyone is safe': Floridians prep for Nicole

STORY: "We have had a lot of flooding within the last couple of storms," Hansard said.

Nicole is located about 105 miles (170 km) east of West Palm Beach, Florida, and is bringing maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 km per hour), the Miami-based forecaster said.

Dorqueta Wright, 30, was among those filling up sandbags in Daytona Beach.

"We are living in a low-lying flood zone. And last time, for Hurricane Ian, we were affected," she said.

Fifteen emergency shelters were opened Wednesday and the governor has activated 600 National Guardsmen for recovery efforts, along with 1,600 linemen on standby to restore power to affected areas. More than a dozen school districts were closed on Wednesday and more than 20 school districts across the state were scheduled to be closed on Thursday.

Several counties along the Florida coast issued mandatory and voluntary evacuations orders for residents who live near the coast and on barrier islands and opened shelters at schools and community centers.