Nicole is near hurricane strength

Nicole is near hurricane strength

Nicole is near hurricane strength

Tropical storm “Nicole” continued to strengthen its strength throughout the day. Nicole now has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph in the Atlantic Ocean, just shy of Category 1 hurricane status. Nicole’s central pressure continued to drop Tuesday evening, indicating possible further strengthening.

Nicole is near hurricane strength

Glades and Hendry counties have been upgraded to a tropical storm warning. This means that tropical storm-force weather conditions are likely. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Lee, Charlotte, DeSoto counties due to Nicole’s location and forecast. Tropical storm watches are issued when tropical storm-strength weather conditions are possible within the next 48 hours.

Nicole is an extremely large and lopsided storm. At last check, tropical storm-force winds extend a whopping 380 miles from the center. However, the strongest tropical storm winds are northeast of the center, which means much weaker winds south of the center of circulation, where most of Southwest Florida will be, as the storm approaches the state.

Tropical Storm Nicole is forecast to move up the southeast coast of Florida late Wednesday evening as a strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane, then cross the Florida peninsula as a weaker tropical storm on Thursday. Parts of the SWFL remain within the projection cone. However, due to Nicole’s aforementioned tilt, the effects will vary depending on where you are. It’s important to stay up to date on how our forecast changes over the next 24 hours.

The big thing to know for Southwest Florida is that the biggest threats from the storm in terms of wind, rain and surge will be along Florida’s east coast. Areas north of Caloosahatchee and toward Lake Okeechobee will see tropical storm force winds gusting 40-50 mph Wednesday night into early Thursday morning.

Showers and breezy conditions could begin in SWFL before noon Wednesday.

Late Wednesday night into Thursday morning will be the windiest and wettest day for our region, and depending on the exact track of the storm, some coastal flooding could occur along the Southwest Florida coast, with water levels up to one foot above normal. The risk of significant storm surge is very low for the Southwest Florida coast, and rainfall amounts will likely range from 1 to 3 inches, with some higher amounts locally possible.

Now is a good time to make sure you clear your yard and storm drains of as much debris as possible. Also, if you have a tarp on your roof, make sure it’s secure.

Forecast models are in good agreement that Nicole will move up the east coast of Florida late Wednesday, then north of the Florida peninsula on Thursday and Friday.

Trust the NBC2 First Alert Hurricane Team to keep you updated on the tropics this week. You can brush up on your knowledge of tropical weather with the NBC2 First Alert Hurricane Guide+ here.

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