Subtropical Storm Nicole formed in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday morning and could bring land near Florida’s east coast by Wednesday night, the National Hurricane Center said.
As of 8 a.m., the system was located 520 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph moving north-northwest at 14 mph. It is expected to slow its forward momentum late Monday and begin a west-west-southwest push Tuesday through Thursday.
“On the forecast track, the center of Nicole will approach the northwestern Bahamas on Tuesday, move near or over those islands on Wednesday and approach the east coast of Florida by Wednesday night,” said NHC Senior Hurricane Specialist Robbie Berg.
Although now classified as subtropical with a massive air system with winds of up to 275 mph at 40 mph, the forecast predicts it will transition to a tropical system with a more defined eye with high wind speeds around the eye at the center of its circulation. Two to three days, Berg said.
“It’s not out of the question for Nicole to reach hurricane strength, especially given how warm the waters are near the Bahamas,” Berg said. “However, regardless of Nicole’s final intensity, it must be emphasized that the storm’s large size will have significant wind, storm surge and precipitation impacts over the northwestern Bahamas, Florida, and much of the southeast coast of the United States. Much of the coming week.”
The five-day forecast cone has a consensus track of 70 mph winds and 85 mph near the coast of Florida at 2 a.m. Thursday. Its track could make landfall somewhere between West Palm Beach and Brevard County, then travel northwest across the state centered somewhere between Orlando and Lakeland by mid-Thursday, then move northeast and pull south on Friday. to us
The NHC defines a subtropical cyclone as similar to a tropical system, meaning a low-pressure system with a closed surface air circulation about a well-defined center with some deep convection. But its winds are spread far and wide with less symmetry than the dense centers of tropical storms, and have cooler upper-level temperatures at their core. Tropical systems get most of their energy from warm water that is absorbed into the atmosphere through the core, while subtropical systems get most of their energy from “baroclinic” sources, meaning they mix with a neighboring high or low pressure system and trade temperature and pressure in an attempt to equalize.
Because it has not yet become a tropical system, its path and intensity are less predictable, according to the NHC, and the five-day cone stretches from just south of Miami, where it didn’t even make landfall, but just offshore Daytona Beach before being pulled northeast.
Either way, its approach can bring the risk of dangerous storm surge, damaging winds and heavy rain.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, and additional watches for the Bahamas and Florida may be issued later today, the NHC said.
For now, the Bahamas could see 3 to 5 feet of above normal storm surge, while 2 to 4 inches of rain and some areas could see up to 6 inches by Thursday.
Major damage to Florida from Hurricane Ian in September, Ian’s heavy rains flooded the central part of the state. According to the National Weather Service in Melbourne, heavy rainfall from this system could stress water tables further downstream from the storm, leading to more flooding.
“Hazardous ocean conditions will continue to worsen, with winds working to create seas throughout the day today,” the NWS said in its Monday morning forecast discussion. “These winds and building seas will make coastal conditions hazardous, creating choppy waves, life-threatening currents, and increasing concerns about coastal erosion today and tonight.”
Peak winds in east central Florida are expected to begin Wednesday night and continue through Thursday.
“Storm winds before and after the storm’s passage may produce winds of 50-60 mph across coastal communities, with gusts of 35-50 mph inland,” the forecast said. “Additionally, storm totals are expected to reach 4-6 inches along the coast and the St. Johns River in Brevard County, 3-4 inches for other areas and 2-3 inches for northern Lake County and areas west of Florida’s Turnpike, with higher amounts possible inland. .
State emergency officials will identify potential resource gaps in all 67 counties of the state and implement plans to help the system respond quickly and efficiently, Gov. Ron DeSantis said.
“If a hurricane hits Florida, I encourage all Floridians to be prepared and make a plan,” he said in a press release.
The release reminded Floridians “to know whether they live in an evacuation area, low-lying, flood-prone area, a mobile home or an unprotected structure during hurricane season. It’s important for residents to know their home and its ability to withstand strong winds and heavy rain.”
The NHC will issue its next advisory and updated track forecast at 11 a.m
Nicole becomes the 14th named system of the 2022 hurricane season, continuing the above-average storm production of recent years. 2020 recorded 30 named storms, and 2021 produced 21 named systems.
The Atlantic hurricane season ends on November 30.