After socking Florida, Nicole to bring heavy rain, tornado risk to eastern U.S.


Nicole made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane at 3 a.m. ET near Vero Beach, Fla., bringing 75 mph winds and a damaging sea surge as it lashed the coast. It marked just the fourth hurricane on record to hit the United States during November.

It is now a decelerating tropical storm as it exits Florida’s west coast and enters the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, but it continues to unleash heavy rain, 45 to 55 mph winds, and dangerous coastal flooding in eastern and northern Florida, along both the Atlantic and the Gulf Coast. About 300,000 customers are without power in the Sunshine State.

The storm’s second act, which has just begun, will bring heavy rain along its path from the Florida Panhandle into the interior Northeast, and the risk of severe storms and tornadoes to the east.

Nicole hits Florida with flooding in areas still recovering from Ian

In addition to the heavy rain, strong winds and waves in Florida and parts of the Southeast, the risk of tornadoes is increasing across parts of coastal Georgia and the Carolinas. That risk will expand to cover much of the Mid-Atlantic Friday, with the threat coming as far north as Washington, DC

Nicole will also drench the Appalachians, dropping a widespread 2 to 4 inches of rain and soaking areas that had been struggling with drought just days before.

“Isolated urban and small stream flooding will also be possible on Friday in the southeast through the central Appalachians, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, and extending north through eastern Ohio, west central Pennsylvania, into western New York beginning Friday ​​night into Saturday,” the National Hurricane Center wrote.

From 13 Eastern time, Nicole had weakened to a tropical storm with maximum winds around 45 mph. It was about 45 miles north of Tampa, and heading northwest at 15 mph. The storm is expected to move across the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday afternoon, but it is not expected to strengthen.

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Tropical storm warnings remain in effect from Sebastian Inlet, Fla., to just north of Charleston, SC, with storm surge warnings from Sebastian Inlet to midway between Jacksonville and Savannah, Ga.

Additional tropical storm and storm surge warnings have been issued from north of Tampa through Florida’s Big Bend, where Nicole’s circulation will burden the coastline with onshore winds for most of Thursday.

Storm in Plains to trigger blizzard and heavy snowfall

Nicole ingests dry air—a meteorological blessing and a curse. That has eroded its structure and cut down on heavy rainfall, helping to weaken it but amplifying the tornado risk. That’s because the influx of dry air kicks up a band of thunderstorms as it cuts under warm, moist air flowing in from the Atlantic.

A change in wind speed and/or direction with height, known as wind shear, causes individual thunderstorms within this band to rotate as they turn ashore. That will result in a tornado risk. The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch covering southeastern Georgia and extreme southern South Carolina until 8 p.m.

On the opposite side of Florida, there was no tornado risk, but heavy rain lashed much of the zone between Tampa and Panama City.

Nicole will continue to lose steam from a wind standpoint, but the risk of precipitation and tornadoes will remain. It will begin to curve more north and eventually northeast as it rounds the back of a high pressure force field exiting the southeast coast.

Along the way, it will make another landfall in Florida along the Panhandle on Thursday evening before passing close to Atlanta on Friday. At that time it is expected to be a tropical depression. The heaviest rain will fall west of the center as an approaching cold front focuses Nicole’s remaining moisture with the greatest tornado risk to the east.

Through Saturday, Nicole’s trek up the Appalachians will dump a general 2 to 4 inches of rain, with the heaviest likely to fall in the high ground of western North Carolina. An isolated six inch total cannot be ruled out. The westward shift of Nicole’s precipitation shield in the latest forecasts will limit precipitation in places like Raleigh, Richmond and Washington, DC, as well as the Acela corridor in the Northeast.

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Nicole tracks down the DC region Friday with rain and possibly tornadoes

That stretch of Interstate 95 in the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic will have to deal with a tornado threat. A level 2 out of 5 “slight” risk for a few tornadoes covers Charlotte, Virginia Beach, Raleigh, NC and Richmond on Friday, with a level 1 out of 5 marginal risk for tornadoes reaching all the way into New Jersey and including Philadelphia, Baltimore and the nation’s capital.

The storm’s effects on Florida

When the storm made landfall before dawn Thursday, it unleashed gusts of 84 and 80 mph near Daytona Beach and in Melbourne. Other notable gusts in the Sunshine State included: Cocoa Beach, 78 mph; Orlando, 70 mph; and Juno Beach, 62 mph. An elevated weather station at Cape Canaveral, 120 feet off the ground, posted a wind gust of 100 mph.

On Thursday morning, tropical storm-force winds — which extended as far as 345 miles from the storm’s center — affected Florida’s east and west coasts simultaneously. St. Augustine had a gust of 70 mph, while Clearwater Beach had a gust of 59 mph. PowerOutage.US reported nearly 350,000 customers without power across the state.

Photos: Nicole goes ashore in Florida

The storm also generated a significant storm surge, or rise in water over normally dry land. Port Canaveral recorded a 3-foot surge, with some of the worst flooding underway by the time of Thursday morning’s high tide. In Palm Beach, a 2-foot storm surge was recorded, and water levels were 3.18 feet higher than normal along the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, the city of the city. third highest increase ever. Some places probably saw a wave closer to 4 feet.

Streets were flooded on Hutchinson Island, forcing officials to call in high-tide rescue vehicles, with structural damage reported in Melbourne Beach off Sandy Shores Drive. Entire neighborhoods were inaccessible at St. Augustine Beach, and some flooding occurred as far south as Fort Lauderdale. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea pier partially collapsed.

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In the coastal community of Wilbur-by-the-Sea in Volusia County, FOX Weather captured footage of a home collapses into the sea.

Around Daytona Beach, video surfaced of sea ​​walls destroyed and one beach safety building collapsed out into the sea. In Daytona Beach Shores, an apartment building was evacuated due to fears of collapse due to erosion and recordings appeared of at least one home falling into the sea.

Also the increase damaged portions of State Road A1A in Flagler County.

Rainfall totals from the storm in Florida were generally in the 2 to 4 inch range, but localized totals approached 6 inches. Select totals include: 4.07 inches in Titusville; 3.67 inches in Orlando; 2.89 inches in Fort Lauderdale; 2.49 inches in Jacksonville; 2.02 inches Daytona Beach; and 1.83 inches in Miami.

Nicole’s landfall in the Sunshine State represents the first November hurricane to hit Florida since 1935 and marks the latest calendar year Florida’s east coast has seen a hurricane. It is also the first to hit anywhere in the United States in November since 1985.

Nicole became the third hurricane to form so far this month in the Atlantic, meaning 2022 is now tied with 2001 for most Atlantic hurricanes on record as of November, according to Phil Klotzbach, a tropical weather expert at Colorado State University.

The overall hurricane season as a whole is still running about 21 percent behind total storm energy use, but beleaguered Gulf Coast residents hit hard by Ian, and now Nicole knows it only takes one more storm.

Nicole adds to a very busy stretch for landfalling hurricanes along US coasts. Klotzbach tweeted that the United States has now had at least two hurricanes make landfall in seven consecutive years for the first time on record.

According to the books, the Atlantic hurricane season ends on November 30.


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