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Subtropical Storm Nicole Poised to Hit Florida’s East Coast

Here we go again!

Florida is going to get another chance to experience hurricane-force winds, rain and waves, as described in an AccuWeather forecast below. There won’t be the significant storm surge that decimated the west coast of the state when Hurricane Ian hit. I expect, depending on the speed of the storm, that significant flooding could occur from rain. Other states along the eastern shore will also get a dose of Nicole if the storm track remains as predicted. Here’s the forecast:

AccuWeather Global Weather Center – November 7, 2022 – A hurricane watch was issued along the eastern coast of Florida on Monday as Subtropical Storm Nicole churned across the Atlantic and showed signs of further strengthening as it tracked toward the storm-weary state.

On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in anticipation of Nicole's arrival.

The Sunshine State faces long-duration impacts from pounding surf, strong winds and torrential rain, and as a result, AccuWeather forecasters have rated Nicole a 1 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes. This scale takes into account the effects of storm surge, coastal erosion, flooding, wind and economic damage, while the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind scale accounts for wind intensity only.

Nicole will strengthen into a hurricane prior to making landfall along the central Florida coast late Wednesday night or early Thursday. Impacts could be severe along Florida’s Atlantic coast and over the Florida Peninsula in general.

Tropical storm and storm surge watches were also issued for parts of Florida and coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina.

As of Monday afternoon, Nicole continued to pack 45 mph sustained winds and was spinning 465 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas. It was moving northwestward at 9 mph.

The combination of Nicole's perpendicular track straight into the Florida Peninsula, a broad area of strong easterly winds from the Atlantic and the astronomical effects of the full moon will hit coastal areas hard from near West Palm Beach to St. Augustine and Jacksonville Beach, forecasters warn.

Along much of the Florida Atlantic coast and the Georgia coast, conditions could be more severe with Nicole compared to Ian. Tides will continue to trend above normal through Wednesday and into Thursday. A water level rise of several feet is likely near and well north of where the center of the storm moves inland.

"In coastal areas, especially from the Space Coast of Florida through the Carolinas, tropical-storm-force wind gusts can occur for 36-48 hours straight," AccuWeather Director of Forecasting Operations Dan DePodwin said. "This is a longer duration than typical tropical systems."

Many of the beaches and some of the dunes have been torn up in the wake of Ian's indirect impacts and could be especially vulnerable to a direct assault by a tropical storm or hurricane coming in from the east.

There is a chance the center of the storm could track farther to the south or to the north. A track farther to the south along the eastern coast of Florida could bring more significant impacts in terms of coastal flooding and wind to Fort Lauderdale and Miami while a track more to the north could bring more severe conditions to the Florida Space Coast to the Daytona Beach and Jacksonville area.

"It is extremely unusual for tropical storms to hit the east coast of Florida in November," AccuWeather Senior Weather Editor and meteorologist Jesse Ferrell said. "Besides the 1935 Miami Hurricane, the only other storm [to hit Florida's east coast during the month] was an unnamed system in 1946."

Only two hurricanes have struck Florida during the month of November, Ferrell added. Kate crashed into the Florida Panhandle as a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale in November of 1985 -- 50 years after the Miami Hurricane had made landfall in the southeastern part of the state.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.