Florida’s east coast was placed under hurricane watch Monday as Subtropical Storm Nicole moved in its direction with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
The storm, currently located 520 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas is expected to approach Florida’s east coast by Wednesday night. The storm is moving northwest at 9 mph.
A subtropical storm is a cyclone where maximum sustained surface wind speed is 39 mph or more, according to the National Hurricane Center.
According to the forecast, Nicole will gradually strengthen over the next few days and be near or at hurricane intensity by Wednesday as it approaches Florida.
The center of Nicole will reach the northwestern Bahamas Tuesday and move near or over those islands Wednesday before heading to Florida.
The impacts of the storm include strong wind gusts and 2 to 6 inches of rain in both Florida and the Bahamas by mid-to-late week. Storm surge of 3 to 5 feet is also possible for the Bahamas.
While there’s no existing forecast for storm surge in Florida, mid-November has some of the highest king tides of the year for areas like Miami Beach, Myrtle Beach and Fort Lauderdale, which can exacerbate coastal flooding.
Nicole is expected to be extremely large in size and lopsided, meaning the storm’s impact can be felt hundreds of miles away from the center.
A hurricane watch has been issued for Florida’s east coast along Volusia and Brevard counties all the way south to Hallandale Beach near Miami, according to the National Hurricane Center. Lake Okeechobee, an inland lake in the southeast of the state, is also under hurricane watch.
There’s a storm surge watch for the east coast of Georgia and Florida from the Altamaha Sound to Hallandale Beach.
A tropical storm watch for the northwestern Bahamas has been upgraded to hurricane watch Monday.
Since 1980, six tropical cyclones, four tropical storms and two tropical depressions, have struck the Florida peninsula in November, all initially from the south or west.
Only one hurricane on record has struck the Florida peninsula in November, the so-called 1935 Yankee Hurricane, which made landfall near present-day Bal Harbour on Nov. 4 with 100 mph sustained winds.
Hurricane Kate, in 1985, hit Florida’s panhandle on Nov. 21 as a Category 2 storm.