Tropical Storm Nicole forecasted to hit Florida as Category 1 hurricane

A tropical storm warning was issued for most of the west coast, including the entire Tampa Bay area.

click to enlarge Tropical Storm Nicole forecasted to hit Florida as Category 1 hurricane
Photo via NOAA
Before Tropical Storm Nicole makes landfall on the east coast of Florida late Wednesday night, forecasters are now predicting it will strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane.

As of 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the storm is moving west at 12 miles per hour roughly 210 miles east of West Palm Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center

"While Nicole is over warm sea surface temperatures, a combination of shear of dry air entrainment is likely to allow only gradual intensification," said the NHC. "However, that gradual intensification should allow Nicole to become a hurricane later today while crossing the northwestern Bahamas."

The storm is expected to hit the east coast of the state with at least 74 mph winds, and slightly weaken as it moves across the peninsula, before turning northwest on Thursday.

Between late Wednesday and Thursday morning, forecasters say the Tampa Bay area will experience winds from 30-40 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph,  along with 3-5 inches of rain.

"Nicole will produce heavy rainfall today into Thursday across the Florida Peninsula," added the NHC. "Flash and urban flooding will be possible across portions of the Florida Peninsula along with river rises on the St. Johns River."

Since Tampa Bay, and most of Central Florida, are still well within the cone of uncertainty, local officials are urging residents to make final storm preparations by Wednesday afternoon.

On Monday, Gov. DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 34 counties in Florida, including Hillsborough and Pasco Counties.

As of now, hurricane and storm surge warnings have been issued for most of the east coast of Florida, with a tropical storm warning issued for most of the west coast, including the entire Tampa Bay area.

A storm surge warning is also in effect from the Anclote River to the Ochlockonee River.

Some Tampa Bay schools have already announced closures for Thursday, including Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

While no evacuations have been ordered, Hillsborough County opened a shelter Wednesday, located at Erwin Technical College, 2010 E Hillsborough Ave. The shelter is pet-friendly and opens at noon today, Nov. 9.

About The Author

Colin Wolf

Colin Wolf has been working with weekly newspapers since 2007 and has been the Digital Editor for Creative Loafing Tampa since 2019. He is also the Director of Digital Content Strategy for CL's parent company, Euclid Media Group.
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