Nicole could be hurricane-force midweek near Bahamas, South Florida: forecasters

Nicole could be hurricane-force midweek near Bahamas, South Florida: forecasters

Subtropical Storm Nicole, which formed early Monday, could be near hurricane or even hurricane strength by midweek as it approaches northwest of the Bahamas and then southeast of Florida, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

Forecasters say Nicole is “a big storm” that is expected to move over or near the Bahamas on Wednesday and approach Florida’s east coast Wednesday night. Latest estimates on Monday indicated that its maximum sustained winds this week could reach 70 mph, just 4 mph below the threshold of a Category 1 hurricane.

“It’s not out of the question that Nicole could reach hurricane strength, especially given the warm waters near the Bahamas,” experts said Monday morning.

A tropical storm watch was in effect Monday morning for the northwest Bahamas, Grand Bahama, Bimini and surrounding islands. The National Hurricane Center said it may issue additional warnings later Monday for the central Bahamas and parts of southeast Florida.

Subtropical Storm Nicole, which formed early Monday, could reach or approach hurricane strength by mid-week as it approaches the northeastern Bahamas and southeastern Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of 5 a.m. Monday, Nicole had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and was moving north-northwest at 14 mph. It is expected to turn northwest Monday, then west or west-southwest Tuesday through Thursday morning.

“There is an increasing risk of coastal flooding, tropical storm-force winds, heavy rains, rough waves and beach erosion along much of the southeast coast of the United States, from the east coast of Florida and parts of the central and northwestern Bahamas beginning early to mid-this week,” the hurricane center reported Sunday.

On Election Day Tuesday, voters in South Florida will likely begin to feel the effects as the system draws in humidity from the Caribbean Sea.

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Barry Baxter, meteorologist for the National Weather Service Miami, encouraged South Floridians to stay vigilant.

“We are technically still in hurricane season until the end of this month,” he said. “So don’t let your guard down just because it’s November. It’s rare that we get them at this time of year, but we could still get them.

Forecasters are also watching for a stormy area of ​​low pressure located 650 east of Bermuda early Monday. Forecasters said it could still become a short-lived tropical depression or tropical storm today before it is hampered by upper winds and a cold front.

The system near Bermuda had a 60% chance of developing within the next two to five days, according to the hurricane center, up from 70% on Sunday.

So far this season, there have been two major hurricanes, meaning Category 3 or higher: Fiona and Ian.

The next named storm to form would be Owen.

NOAA has predicted that at least four more hurricanes will form before the official end of hurricane season on Nov. 30.

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