Latest on Nicole: Tropical Storm Watch issued for the Suncoast
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A tropical storm watch has been issued for parts of Southwest Florida as Nicole is forecast to make a transition to a tropical storm and begin strengthening later today.
At 10 a.m. Tuesday, Tropical Storm Nicole was about 348 miles east-northeast of the northwest Bahamas. Sustained winds remain 50 mph but the explosion of thunderstorms near the center of the circulation suggest the storm has made the transition to pure tropical status and the classification is now Tropical Storm.
With this advisory a Hurricane Warning has been issued from Boca Raton to the Flagler/Volusia County Line. A Hurricane Watch has been issued from the Flagler/Volusia County Line to Ponte Vedra Beach. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from Altamaha Sound to the Savannah River. A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from Altamaha Sound Georgia to the Savannah River and from Anclote River Florida to Suwannee River Florida.
Nicole is expected to bring storm surge of 5 feet in places along the east coast of Florida. A storm surge warning is now up for much of the east coast of Florida as Nicole is expected to gain strength. Tropical storm warnings have now been issued for the Florida east coast along with a hurricane watch for parts of the east coast of Florida.
The turn to the west and west-southwest is seems to be starting, and that motion should continue through Wednesday. A turn toward the northwest and north-northwest is expected Thursday and Thursday night. On the forecast track, the center of Nicole will approach the northwestern Bahamas today and tonight, move near or over those islands on Wednesday, and approach the east coast of Florida Wednesday night.
Nicole’s center is then expected to move across central and northern Florida into southern Georgia Thursday and Thursday night, producing between 3-5 inches of rain in Florida.
Winds of 40 mph extend outward up to 380 miles from the center. Data from a NOAA reconnaissance aircraft indicate that the minimum central pressure is 992 mb (29.29 inches).
However, it should be noted that at this time we are not forecasting a storm that will do any major structural damage. Locally heavy rain will cause some flooding, a few power outages, and perhaps a severe storm or two might be a reasonable worst case forecast given what we know at this time.
A hurricane warning is in effect for the Abacos, Berry Islands, Bimini, and Grand Bahama Island in the northwestern Bahamas.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Andros Island, New Providence, and Eleuthera in the northwestern Bahamas, Hallandale Beach, Florida to Altamaha Sound, Georgia.
A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
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