Nicole strengthens, threatens Bahamas and Florida

MIAMI (HPD) — Subtropical Storm Nicole began strengthening into a tropical storm Tuesday, moving toward the northwestern Bahamas and the Florida coast, forecasters said.

“As Nicole’s structure takes on more tropical characteristics, strengthening will likely begin later today,” the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

A series of alerts and warnings have been issued to the population. Many areas are barely recovering from the impact of Hurricane Ian in September, which hit Florida’s southwestern coast as a Category 4 storm before dumping heavy rain across the central part of the state.

Alerts have been issued for the Abacos, Berry, Bimini and Grand Bahama Islands. Other parts of the Bahamas, including Andros Island, New Province and Eleuthera remain under a tropical storm warning.

The hurricane center said the storm’s direction veered slightly north overnight, but its exact course remains uncertain. It is forecast to hit Florida as a Category 1 storm Wednesday night or early Thursday.

In the United States, hurricane and tropical storm warnings were issued for much of the eastern coast of Florida north of Miami to Altamaha Sound, Georgia.

The advisories also include areas further into Florida, such as Lake Okeechobee and the Gulf Coast from Bonita Beach to the Ochlockonee River in the northwestern area.

The difference between a tropical and a subtropical storm is largely academic. A subtropical storm is a non-frontal low-pressure system that has tropical and extratropical cyclone characteristics, and tends to have winds farther from its center.

As of 7 a.m., the storm was 385 miles (615 kilometers) east-northeast of the northwestern Bahamas and was moving at 8 miles per hour (13 kilometers per hour) with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (80 km/h). ).

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