The latest: Tropical storm watch issued for the Suncoast as Nicole strengthens

Published: Nov. 8, 2022 at 1:15 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2022 at 3:46 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A tropical storm watch has been issued for parts of Southwest Florida as Nicole is forecast to make a transition to a tropical storm and begin strengthening later today.

As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, Tropical Storm Nicole was about 310 miles northeast of the northwest coast of the Bahamas. Nicole’s maximum sustained winds increased to 60 mph. At the center of the storm meteorologists have noted increased thunderstorms. Earlier this morning, the storm was upgraded to a Tropical Storm.

Hurricanes warnings have been issued for multiple spots along the Space Coast, including Boca Raton and the Flagler/Volusia County Line Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis also issued a state of emergency for 34 counties:

Counties under a State of Emergency are:

  • Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, and VolusiaNicole is expected to bring storm surge of 5 feet in places along the east coast of Florida. A storm surge warning is now up for much of the east coast of Florida as Nicole is expected to gain strength. Tropical storm warnings have now been issued for the Florida east coast along with a hurricane watch for parts of the east coast of Florida.

The turn to the west and west-southwest is seems to be starting, and that motion should continue through Wednesday. A turn toward the northwest and north-northwest is expected Thursday and Thursday night. On the forecast track, the center of Nicole will approach the northwestern Bahamas today and tonight, move near or over those islands on Wednesday, and approach the east coast of Florida Wednesday night.

Nicole’s center is then expected to move across central and northern Florida into southern Georgia Thursday and Thursday night, producing between 3-5 inches of rain in Florida.

Winds of 40 mph extend outward up to 380 miles from the center. Data from a NOAA reconnaissance aircraft indicate that the minimum central pressure is 992 mb (29.29 inches).

However, it should be noted that at this time we are not forecasting a storm that will do any major structural damage. Locally heavy rain will cause some flooding, a few power outages, and perhaps a severe storm or two might be a reasonable worst case forecast given what we know at this time.