Hurricane Nicol has launched an amphibious assault on Florida, and dangerous storm surges, winds and heavy rains will continue to sweep across much of the state Thursday through Friday.
Nicole made landfall in the northwestern Bahamas for the first time Wednesday night with winds of 70 miles per hour reaching hurricane strength. Nicole is expected to maintain that intensity as she approaches her second landing in Florida.
Nicole’s jaunt south has ended, with a west-northwest movement moving the center of the storm over land somewhere between Melbourne and Jupiter early Thursday morning, to west central Florida by noon Thursday. reach.
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Nicole’s path is slightly more westward than yesterday as the expected forward speed has increased slightly. The storm is likely to enter the far northeast bay on Thursday afternoon before turning north across the East Panhandle on Thursday afternoon.
With this general scenario likely to play out (plus or minus Apalachee Gulf size margin of error), let’s look at the impact North Florida can expect from Nicole by region.
Central and Southern Florida including Port St. Lucie, Melbourne, Orlando, Lakeland and Tampa
East Central Florida is expected to bear the brunt of Nicole. Rain, wind and surge effects are already underway on the section of coastline between Cape Canaveral and Port St. Lucie, with the largest storm surge-related coastal flooding occurring Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. There is likely to be.
Surge peaks are likely to be 3 to 5 feet, but higher localized peaks are likely, especially where the north eyewall (or pesky eyewall-like feature) crosses the coast early Thursday morning. value is possible.
The northern or western eyewall is also where hurricane-like winds are most likely to blow, but gusts of 75 mph or more are confined to areas immediately inland on the coast or even within the eyewall. There is a possibility. Coastal areas, where eyewalls are not seen in this region, are likely to see the highest gusts in the higher registers of the tropical storm range. Coastal winds should ease by Thursday morning.
Nicol doesn’t seem to be particularly efficient at carrying wind inland. The highest gusts of 45 to 60 mph are most likely to occur in Brevard, Volusia, Osceola, Orange, and Seminole counties Thursday morning as the northern part of Nicole’s core moves WNW across the peninsula. increase.
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West Central Florida could experience gusts of up to 35 to 50 mph, mainly north of Tampa late Thursday morning through Thursday afternoon. Tropical storm gusts will also form in the western Gulf Coast on Thursday morning and evening. If Nicole moves to the northeastern Gulf, storm surges of 3-5 feet are likely on the Nature Coast as winds turn onshore Thursday afternoon. A storm surge warning is in effect north of the Ancrote River.
Finally, stronger and more steady rainfall moving east-to-west Wednesday night and continuing overnight will start clearing over east central Florida by noon Thursday and west central Florida by Thursday night. The most likely total storm is 3 to 6 inches to the east and 2 to 4 inches to the west.
Southern Florida, West Palm Beach to Charlotte Harbor and South
In this region, the centerline is north of it all night Wednesday through Thursday, so the impact will be greater at the northern end than at the southern end. The 2- to 4-foot Palm Beach County peak waves associated with the next two high tides will ease by noon Thursday. Thankfully, no significant surge is expected in Southwest Florida.
Low-intensity gusts of tropical storms along the coast of southeastern Florida will also diminish overnight as winds turn to offshore currents, and inland gusts to the northern tip of the region will be expected from midnight to noon Thursday. It can peak at about 40 mph in between. Precipitation in South Florida will range from about 1 inch southwest to about 3 inches in Palm Beach County, with more precipitation beginning Thursday morning and an occasional cessation of the band on Thursday evening.
North Central Florida, including Jacksonville, Lake City, St. Augustine, Gainesville, Daytona Beach and Ocala:
North Central Florida has already been severely impacted, including significant coastal flooding overwashing A1A and gusting winds from a tropical storm from Nicole to Wednesday afternoon. Rain and wind effects will increase early Thursday, with the worst expected for most of the region overnight through Thursday afternoon.
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Coastal flooding along northeastern Florida and the St. Johns Basin continues to be a major threat from Nicole, where a storm surge warning has been issued. A storm surge peak of 3 to 5 feet above normal high water is expected, and may peak at high tide Thursday morning. North Central Florida will not see the best winds associated with Nicole’s Core, but tropical storm warnings are in effect for the entire region, with coastal gusts reaching 50’s in northeastern Florida and 60’s in Volusia County early Thursday. It may reach its peak over the years. A peak inland gust of 40 to 50 mph is likely inland during the day on Thursday.
Localized flash floods are also a concern in north central Florida. There, the heaviest rainfall is expected on Thursday morning, with an intermittent band continuing into the early hours of Friday afternoon. In this area, it rises 2 to 4 inches in total along the coast. A few tornadoes are also possible in the outer belt on Thursday.
Florida Panhandle, including Tallahassee, Madison, Apalachicola, Marianna, and Steinhatchee:
A bump west of Nicole’s track on Thursday will make the biggest difference to impacts in the eastern panhandle.
In particular, the Center Pass, which travels across Apalachee Bay rather than scraping along the Nature Coast, presents much more flooding potential on the eastern shore along the track. If this occurs, on Thursday night and early Friday morning, land winds (from the south and southwest) could generate storm surges of 3-5 feet in the roughly eastern half of Apalachee Bay. Or coastal. As a result, a storm surge warning has been issued as far west as Okroconee Bay, and a storm surge warning has been extended to Cape San Blas.
Expected rain and wind effects are also increasing in the eastern panhandle. Water temperatures in the northeastern Gulf are too mild to reintensify on Thursday, and the storm will struggle to create deep convection as it approaches Big Bend, but Nicol’s vast wind area remains persistently tropical. The storm is expected to bring strength to the coast by noon Thursday, with gusts moving inland by Thursday afternoon and continuing into Friday morning. These gusts can reach 40 to 50 miles per hour inland and cause damage to trees and power outages.
A tropical storm warning is in effect east of the Apalachicola River, including inland.
The good news is that much-needed rainfall in the panhandle is part and parcel of Nicole’s mischief. The outer band expands the panhandle from east to west on Thursday morning, with the heaviest rain on Thursday night and showers clearing by Friday morning.
Typical storm totals are expected to be 1.5 inches to 3 inches, locally high east of the Apalachicola River, strongest east, and rapidly decreasing in total west of the river. It won’t prevent drought, but it will help.
After Nicol, cold front concludes hurricane season
Florida typically experiences a second round of extensive damage by tropical systems in as little as six weeks. Nicole is no match for Ian, but she would have a big impact in her own right, especially when it comes to coastal flooding.
Longer term, the good news is that the weekend’s cold front marks the end of the long tropical season for good. The bad news is that we have to see Nicole before it gets cold.
Friend, offense again. Stay safe and keep watching the skies.
What is Weather Tiger? Hurricane Expert Ryan Truchelut Provides Florida Storm Forecast and Analysis
Dr. Ryan Truchelut is principal meteorologist at WeatherTiger, a Tallahassee startup that provides forensic meteorology and expert witness consulting services, as well as subscriptions to agriculture and hurricane forecasting. Contact [email protected] to visit. weathertiger.com.
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This article originally appeared in the Tallahassee Democratic Party. What to Expect from Hurricane Nicole in Florida: By City