Subtropical Storm Nicole formed overnight and is expected to make landfall early Thursday on the east coast of Florida, bringing high winds and rain to Sebastian and Vero Beach.
As of 8:45 a.m., the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Nicole could be near hurricane strength as it moves near the Bahamas and the east coast of Florida. A tropical storm watch is now in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, and watches are expected to be posted for Florida later today.
“The NHC intensity forecast brings Nicole close to hurricane strength in 60-72 hours while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the east coast of Florida, which is in line with the HCCA consensus aid. It’s not out of the question for Nicole to reach hurricane strength, especially given how warm the waters are in the vicinity of the Bahamas. It should be stressed, however, that no matter Nicole’s ultimate intensity, the storm’s large size will likely cause significant wind, storm surge, and rainfall impacts over a large portion of the northwestern Bahamas, Florida, and the southeastern coast of the United States during much of the upcoming week,” National Hurricane Center said in a statement.
At 9:00 a.m., Nicole is located about 500 miles from the northwestern Bahamas, moving at 14 mph with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. The storm’s center will approach the Bahamas on Tuesday and is expected to move into Florida by Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.
Winds of 40 mph or greater extend outward up to 275 miles to the east of the center. Subtropical-force winds are 39-73 mph, and hurricane-force winds are 74 mph and above.
According to the latest weather model at 9:00 a.m., Nicole will potentially make landfall anywhere from St. Lucie County to Broward County. The tracking is expected to change again, so residents in Indian River County should stay alert.
Sebastian Daily will continue to update you about Nicole as more information is available.
Subtropical vs. Tropical
Subtropical storms tend to be larger, extending much further from their centers than tropical storms. A subtropical has a cold core, while tropical storms have a warm core.
Typically, we tend to see subtropical systems develop in the cooler parts of the Atlantic Ocean or the late part of the Hurricane Season. Tropical storms have a higher potential to grow into hurricanes faster than subtropical.