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4PM Wednesday: Tropical Storm Nicole Near Hurricane Strength; Maximum Sustained Winds Near 70 mph With Higher Gusts

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NOAA

Treasure Coast - Wednesday November 9, 2022: Treasure Coast residents are bracing for the arrival of Tropical Storm Nicole which is continuing to strengthen this afternoon as it approaches Florida's east coast.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday the center of Tropical Storm Nicole was about 55 miles east of Freeport Grand Bahama Island. The National Hurricane Center still expects Nicole to become a low end Category 1 Hurricane by the time it makes landfall somewhere between Boca Raton and Vero Beach Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

CAT 1 hurricanes have winds between 74 and 96 mph. Winds of that speed could damage mobile and frame homes by blowing off roof shingles, bending or tearing off vinyl siding and gutters. Large tree branches may snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled.

A Hurricane Warning, a Tropical Storm Warning, a Storm Surge Warning and a Flood Warning all remain in effect for the Treasure Coast, those warnings mean that hurricane and/or Tropical Storm, as well as storm surge and flooding conditions are expected within 36 hours.

However forecasters emphasize that we should not be focused on on the exact track of Nicole. Nicole is a large tropical storm. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 485 miles, especially to the north of the center. Damage and flooding will extend well to the north of the center outside the forecast cone. These hazards are likely to effect much of the Florida peninsula and portions of the southeast U.S.

Nicole is expected to weaken while moving across Florida and the southeastern United States Thursday through Friday, and it is likely to become a post-tropical cyclone by Friday afternoon.

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As of 1 p.m. Wednesday November 9

LOCATION: As of 4 p.m. Tropical Storm Nicole was about 55 miles east of Freeport Grand Bahama Island.

Tropical Storm Nicole was near 26.6 north and 76.2 west, about 60 miles east northwest of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas, and 240 miles west of Palm Beach.

WINDS: Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is expected this evening, and Nicole is forecast to become a hurricane before it reaches the east coast of Florida tonight.

MOVEMENT: Nicole was moving toward the west near 13 mph. A turn toward the west-northwest is expected tonight, followed by a turn toward the northwest on Thursday, and north or north-northeast on Friday.

Nicole's center is then expected to move across central and northern Florida into southern Georgia Thursday and Thursday night, and then across the Carolinas Friday and Friday night.

PRESSURE: The minimum central pressure was 985 millibars or 29.09 inches.

STORM SURGE: A dangerous storm surge is expected along much of the east coast of Florida and portions of coastal Georgia where a Storm Surge Warning is in effect.
The combination of dangerous storm surge and high tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

The water could reach the following heights above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.

* North Palm Beach to Altamaha Sound including the St. Johns River to the Fuller Warren Bridge...3 to 5 ft
* St. Johns River south of the Fuller Warren Bridge to Georgetown...2 to 4 ft
* Hallandale Beach to North Palm Beach...2 to 4 ft
* North of Ocean Reef to Hallandale Beach including Biscayne Bay...1to 2 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the north of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.

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SEAS: Seas 12 feet or greater extend well into the north-central Atlantic, but are fetch limited elsewhere due the proximity of the storm to Florida.

RAINFALL: Nicole is expected to produce the following rainfall amounts through Friday:

* Northwest Bahamas into the eastern, central and northern portions of the Florida Peninsula: 3 to 5 inches with local maxima of 7 inches

* Southeast Georgia into portions of South Carolina: 1 to 4 inches.

* Heavy rainfall from this system will spread north farther up the Eastern Seaboard late Thursday into Friday.

SURF: Large swells generated by Nicole will affect the east coast of Florida, and much of the southeastern United States coast during the next several days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.