HomeINFO-TECHNicole strengthens, threatens Bahamas and Florida coastline

Nicole strengthens, threatens Bahamas and Florida coastline


MIAMI — Subtropical Storm Nicole began strengthening and transitioning into a tropical storm early Tuesday as it churned toward the northwestern Bahamas and Florida’s Atlantic coastline, forecasters said.

“With Nicole’s structure beginning to take on more tropical characteristics, strengthening is likely to commence later today,” the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

A range of warnings and watches remain in place. Many areas are still reeling from damage caused by Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida’s southwestern Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm in late September, before dumping heavy amounts of rain across much of central part of the state.

Hurricane warnings were in effect for the Abacos, Berry Islands, Bimini and Grand Bahama Island, the advisory said. Other areas of the Bahamas, including Andros Island, New Province and Eleuthera remained under a tropical storm warning.

The hurricane center said the storm’s track shifted slightly north overnight, but the exact path remains uncertain. It was expected to make landfall along Florida’s coast as a Category 1 hurricane late Wednesday or early Thursday.

In the U.S., tropical storm warnings and hurricane watches were issued for much of Florida’s Atlantic coastline north of Miami, to Altamaha Sound, Georgia. The warning area stretches inland, covering Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, with tropical storm watches in effect on the state’s Gulf Coast — from Bonita Beach in southwest Florida to the Ochlockonee River in the Panhandle.

The difference between a subtropical and tropical storm is largely academic. A subtropical storm is a non-frontal low-pressure system that has characteristics of both tropical and extratropical cyclones and tend to have a larger wind field, extending much farther from their centers.

At 7 a.m., the storm was about 385 miles (615 kilometers) east northeast of the northwestern Bahamas and moving at 8 mph (13 kph), with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (80 kph).

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