Tropical Storm Nicole is on track to become a Category 1 hurricane as it approaches Florida

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CNN

Tropical Storm Nicole got stronger – with scattered showers affecting parts of Florida midterm election day — and is expected to strengthen further before hitting the state’s east coast early Thursday as the first hurricane to hit the United States in November in nearly 40 years.

Hurricane warnings remain in effect Tuesday for parts of Florida ahead of Nicole’s expected landfall early Thursday morning north of West Palm Beach as Category 1 hurricane with torrential rains and devastating winds, as many in the state continue to suffer the consequences of Hurricane Ian.

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“#Nicole is a tremendous storm that will have major impacts all along the southeast coast of the United States, not just near the center. Coastal flooding, large waves and rip currents will extend from the tip of FL to NC,” the National Weather Service said. tweeted.

Nicole was very close to hurricane strength on Tuesday evening, with sustained winds of 70 mph, and is expected to become a hurricane – that is, sustained winds of at least 74 mph – overnight. As of 10 p.m. ET, it was about 325 miles east of West Palm Beach and moving west-southwest at about 10 mph.

Tropical storm-force winds from Nicole extend 380 miles from the center and are expected to be felt in Florida beginning Wednesday morning.

Nicole should then produce heavy rains which could cause dangerous storm surge and high winds on Wednesday, said Jamie Rhome, acting director of the National Hurricane Center.

It’s expected to be a strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane – with sustained winds of at least 74 mph – by the time it hits Florida Wednesday night through Thursday morning, Rhome said Monday. in a online video briefing.

Up to 7 inches of rain and a storm surge of up to 5 feet along the coast, combined with high winds, are forecast primarily for Wednesday night and Thursday. And because the storm’s track shifted west Tuesday evening, a storm surge watch is now in effect for Begging and part of the West Coast, the center said..

“The storm surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Residents in the warning area should heed the advice given by local authorities,” the hurricane center said.

Orlando International Airport will suspend operations beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday “until circumstances permit,” the state’s busiest airport said Tuesday afternoon. Twitter.

Palm Beach and Volusia counties issued mandatory evacuation orders beginning Wednesday morning for some residents. In Palm Beach, the order is in effect from 7 a.m. ET for Areas A and B and includes barrier islands and low-lying areas, according to a Release on the department’s website.

In Volusia County, home to Daytona Beach, the ordinance is effective Wednesday at 10 a.m., including those east of the Intracoastal Waterway or in flood-prone areas, all campsites and RV parks. coaches and all mobile and prefabricated homes.

“Tropical Storm Nicole poses a direct threat to property and life,” County Executive George Recktenwald said. Volusia County website. “Our infrastructure, particularly along the coastline, is extremely vulnerable due to the impacts of Hurricane Ian. We expect further erosion along the beach, as well as flooding in areas previously flooded by Ian. Residents should take this storm seriously.

Brevard County released a evacuation recommendation starting Wednesday for some residents, including residents of barrier islands, “including areas of Kennedy Space Center South Beaches and Merritt Island”, those in flood-prone areas, residents of mobile homes and prefabs and people with special medical needs who are dependent on electricity.

CNN Weather

Southeast Florida already experiences some of the highest tides of the year, thanks to this month’s full moon. These tides will be pushed significantly higher by the approach of Tropical Storm Nicole, creating even higher water levels and more beach erosion for coastal communities on the state’s east coast in future cycles. high tide, according to the National Weather Service.

The large, strengthening storm is creating a steady stream of onshore winds that will only increase as Nicole gets closer, pushing and piling water on shore so coastal flooding and beach erosion will be possible. before Nicole even hits the ground.

“These winds, high seas and waves will combine with astronomically high tides to pose the threat of significant beach erosion at the time of the next high tide cycles,” said the NWS in Melbourne.

But flooding in the state will not be limited to the immediate coastline, as heavy rains will also cause freshwater flooding inland.

The St. John’s River in Florida still remains in the moderate flood stage of Hurricane Ian. The passage of Nicole and the resulting rainfall is expected to cause water to rise again on this slow-flowing river, again creating flooding issues.

“Levels are expected to reach major flood stage again at 4.0ft on Friday, remaining stable through the weekend. A higher increase is possible depending on total precipitation as well as northerly wind pressure causing water to back up on Lake George,” the NWS said.

More than 5 million people are under a storm surge warning from North Palm Beach, Florida, north to Altamaha Sound, Georgia, including the mouth of the St. Johns River to Georgetown.

The storm shouldn’t escalate fast like Ian did end of September before killing at least 120 people in Florida and destroying communities still in shock of destruction. No hurricane has hit the United States in November since Hurricane Kate hit Florida in Category 2 in 1985.

“We don’t expect a major hurricane,” Rhome said. “Again, not an Ian situation, but still a potentially impactful system.”

Nearly 2 million people are currently under a hurricane warning that stretches from Boca Raton to the Flagler-Volusia county line; a hurricane watch extends north from there to Ponte Vedra beach.

Nearly 15 million people are under a tropical storm warning – with conditions expected in the area within 36 hours – from Hallandale Beach, Florida, north to Altamaha Sound, Georgia, plus Lake Okeechobee in the south Florida. And along the west coast of the state – from north of Bonita Beach to the Ochlockonee River – places slammed by Ian are now under a tropical storm watch.

A tropical storm watch was issued on Tuesday for Altamaha Sound north of Georgia to the South Santee River in South Carolina, and a storm surge watch was issued from the Savannah River to the South Santee River. in South Carolina and from the Suwannee River to the Ochlockonee River in Florida.

A storm surge watch is in effect for the west coast along the Florida Channel from the Ochlockonee River to Indian Pass, the hurricane center said Tuesday.

The Miami-Dade County mayor urged residents to prepare for the storm.

“Residents and visitors should monitor the forecast and ensure their storm kit is up to date,” Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. said online. “We are taking all necessary precautions to prepare for possible flooding and power outages.”

Miami-Dade County officials do not expect the storm to impact Election Day, Levine Cava said.


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