Nicole likely to become hurricane soon
Hurricane warnings up for east coast of FL
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Recon aircraft flying into Nicole this evening found a much lower pressure at 984mb.
At 10 p.m., top sustained winds were up to 70 mph and expected to climb to 75 mph by early Wednesday morning as it will be moving into an area that is favorable for some slow strengthening over the next 24 hours.
Nicole was about 150 miles east-northeast of Great Abaco Island and about 325 miles east of West Palm Beach.
It is expected to make landfall along Florida’s east coast sometime early Thursday morning anywhere from just north of Fort Lauderdale northward to Cape Canaveral.
The cone has shifted slightly south again with the latest update from the National Hurricane Center. This storm has a huge wind field and people should not only focus on the cone or where Nicole will make landfall as significant weather can be expected well away from the cone. Tropical storm force winds extend some 380 miles from the center.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for Manatee, Sarasota and Desoto Counties at this time. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours. These may be changed over to a warning by late tonight or early Wednesday morning for these Counties.
On its current course we can expect to see low end tropical storm force winds beginning late Wednesday and possibly last through early Thursday afternoon. Winds will be out of the east-northeast at first so the water will once again start to empty out of Sarasota Bay. We could see the tides drop by 1-3 feet throughout the day on Wednesday and continue through late morning on Thursday.
Those winds will begin to veer around to the north and northwest which will start to bring the water and waves back into Sarasota bay. We are not expecting to see much of a storm surge along the west coast maybe 1-3 feet from the middle of Longboat Key to Tampa Bay. This will cause some minor flooding for areas right along the coast.
A storm surge watch is in effect from just north of Pinellas County northward. We are not included in that watch at this time.
There is a flood watch for interior counties in our viewing area. That includes DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands counties where we may see 2-4 inches of rain and some isolated areas up to 6 inches. That will cause some localized flooding but nothing widespread.
If we do see some river flooding it will happen basically on Friday as the water from the river basins flow into the rivers and streams in our inland counties. It will be nothing like what we saw with Ian.
The winds will be starting to pick up well in advance of the actual center moving through. We will see low end 40-50 mph winds beginning late Wednesday and continue through early afternoon on Thursday.
Even though it looks like we will be on the soft side of the storm (south side) the tropical storm force winds extend some 90 miles to the south of the center. That means the chances of getting these tropical storm force winds are at 50-60% at this time.
The winds should begin to subside a little by late Thursday afternoon and into the evening as Nicole pulls farther away from the Suncoast.
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