A strengthening Tropical Storm Nicole made landfall over the northwestern Bahamas late Wednesday with an expected arrival along the east coast of Florida as a Category 1 hurricane Wednesday night.
Nicole made landfall over Great Abaco Island with maximum winds of 70 mph, according to the Hurricane Center.
Wednesday at 10 a.m., the National Hurricane Center said Nicole was 210 miles east of West Palm Beach. A tropical storm warning was in effect for Florida’s west coast early Wednesday.
“Early tomorrow morning, we still expect it to intensify into a hurricane,” AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski told USA TODAY. “Right now it’s very close to that. It’s only 4 mph away from being declared a hurricane.”
Projections made landfall along the Treasure Coast late Wednesday, but the Hurricane Center warned residents not to focus on Nicole’s exact track as it remains a major storm.
After making landfall in the US, Nicole’s center is expected to move through central and northern Florida Thursday and Thursday nights into southern Georgia and into the Carolinas on Friday.
This is what we know.
Where is Tropical Storm Nicole now?
Here’s the latest data on Tropical Storm Nicole from the National Hurricane Center’s advisory at 10 a.m. EST.
- Place: 210 miles east of West Palm Beach
- Maximum sustained wind: 70 mph
- Movement: west at 12 mph
- Busy: 986 millibar
- When the following advice is issued: 4:00 p.m. EST
Nicole is now a major tropical storm. Tropical storm-force winds extend as far as 460 miles, especially north of downtown. early wednesday, a National Ocean Service station on Lake Worth Pier reported sustained winds of 44 mph and a gust of 55 mph.
Nicole’s center is approaching Florida’s east coast tonight within the hurricane warning zone. Some strengthening was expected, and Nicole was forecast to become a hurricane near the northwestern Bahamas and remain a hurricane when it reaches Florida tonight.
Nicole was expected to weaken as she passed through Florida and the southeastern United States Thursday through Friday, becoming a post-tropical cyclone over the mid-Atlantic by Friday night.
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What damage could Nicole cause?
Tropical storm conditions in the northwestern Bahamas and parts of Florida’s east coast are expected to spill over to Georgia and South Carolina later Wednesday. The National Hurricane Center also forecast hurricane conditions in Florida for Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
According to the Hurricane Center, Nicole could cause dangerous storm surges of up to 1.5 meters in areas along the coasts of Florida and Georgia, and could raise water levels in the Bahamas as high as 6 meters.
Forecasters predicted “a few tornadoes” from Wednesday night through Thursday in East Florida, Southeast Georgia and South South Carolina.
Precipitation will be a major concern, Kottlowski said. Nicole is expected to drench the northwestern Bahamas and parts of Florida with between 3 and 5 inches of rain before we head north.
“There’s a possibility of a lot of flash flooding in the western Carolinas up to maybe the mountains of Virginia and into Pennsylvania,” Kottlowski said.
Nicole is a rare November storm
Nicole is a rare storm: Only one hurricane on record made landfall in the continental US after Nov. 4. researcher Phil Klotzbach.
NASA, Artemis I’m preparing for Nicole
Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station prepare huge moon-bound Artemis I rocket for Nicole down on Florida.
The rocket will ride out of the storm on pad 39B of the Kennedy Space Center. Officials forgo the multi-day task of rolling the multi-billion dollar rocket toward the Vehicle Assembly Building, some four miles away. The building can accommodate wind speeds of up to 85 mph, and Category 1 storm winds are between 74 and 95 mph.
“The rocket is designed to withstand heavy rain on the launch pad, and the spacecraft’s hatches are secured to prevent water ingress,” NASA said in a statement.
NASA confirmed Tuesday that it would delay the launch of the Space Launch System rocket to no earlier than 1:04 a.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 16, due to Nicole.
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Contributing: Ashley R. Williams, USA TODAY