Subtropical Storm Nicole is expected to slowly strengthen as it approaches the Florida peninsula, bringing dangerous storm surges and heavy rain that could lead to high winds starting Wednesday, according to Jamie Rhome, acting director of the National Hurricane Center.
“A good portion of the Florida peninsula will be affected by these conditions,” Rome said Monday. Video summary posted online.
More than 20 million people are under a tropical storm warning from Florida’s Hallandale coast north to Georgia’s Altamaha Sound, according to CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford. Also, a tropical storm warning has been issued for Lake Okeechobee in South Florida, he said.
Additionally, more than 5 million people are under a storm surge warning from North Palm Beach northward to Altamaha Sound, including from the mouth of the St. Johns River to Georgetown, Shackelford added.
As of early Tuesday, more than 8 million people in Florida were under a hurricane watch, Shackelford said. The storm is expected to make landfall above West Palm Beach on Thursday morning, he said.
Areas along the state’s west coast from Bonita Beach north to the Ochlogonie River were also under a tropical storm watch Tuesday morning.
Nicole was about 400 miles east-northeast of the northwestern Bahamas on Tuesday morning. It is expected to become a tropical storm later Tuesday.
Nicole is not expected to intensify as quickly as Hurricane Ian did when it left at least 120 dead in its path in Florida in late September. Still faltering societies from destruction.
“We’re not forecasting a major hurricane,” Rome said. “Again, not an Ian situation, but still an impactful setting.”
Rome said it is forecast to become a strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane by the time it reaches Florida between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.
“Florida residents need to take this seriously,” Rome said.
The warning comes as a hurricane watch is currently in effect along Florida’s east coast from the Volusia/Brevard County line to Hallandale Beach, the Hurricane Center said.
The watch stretches from just north of Miami to the Space Coast and includes Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Cape Canaveral and Melbourne.
Subtropical Storm Nicole has sustained winds of 45 mph as it winds toward Florida from the northwestern Bahamas, where a hurricane warning is in effect, on Tuesday.
“Don’t let the ‘sub’ fool you. #Nicole is a terrible storm that will have major impacts not just near the center, but along the Southeast US coastline. Coastal flooding, large waves and rip currents will extend from the tip of FL to NC,” the National Weather Service said. explained.
As many across Florida head to the polls Tuesday for midterm election day, forecasters are warning them to be prepared.
“Florida can expect scattered showers and thunderstorms to begin hitting parts of the state Tuesday afternoon,” Shackelford said.
“The storm surge will be accompanied by large and damaging waves. Residents in the warning area should heed the advice of local authorities,” the hurricane center said.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levine Cava said online She was briefed on the storm and urged residents to prepare.
“Residents and visitors should monitor the forecast and ensure their storm kit is up-to-date,” Levine Cava said in a social media post. “We are taking all necessary precautions against flooding and power outages.”
Officials do not expect the storm to have an impact on Tuesday’s election day.
Coastal flooding is likely beginning Wednesday along the east coast of the Florida peninsula, parts of which were hit by Hurricane Ian, said Rome, acting director of the hurricane center.
Florida’s main threats are heavy rainfall of up to 7 inches and storm surge combined with wind gusts of up to 5 feet along the coast. Those conditions are mainly forecast for Wednesday evening and Thursday.