Subtropical Storm Nicole strengthened on Tuesday morning as it moved over the Western Atlantic Ocean east of the Bahamas. At 7:00 a.m. EST on Tuesday the center of Subtropical Storm Nicole was located at latitude 27.7°N and longitude 72.0°W which put it about 385 miles (615 km) east of the Northwestern Bahamas. Nicole was moving toward the west-northwest at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 992 mb.
A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the Abacos, Berry Islands, Bimini and Grand Bahama Island. A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Volusia/Brevard County Line to Hallandale Beach, Florida. The Hurricane Watch included Melbourne, West Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. A Hurricane Watch was in effect for Lake Okeechobee. Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Andros Island, New Providence and Eleuthera. A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Altamaha Sound, Georgia to Hallandale Beach, Florida. The Tropical Storm Warning includes Jacksonville and Daytona Beach. A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Hallandale Beach to Ocean Reef, Florida. The Tropical Storm Watch included Miami. A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Bonita Beach to the Ochlockonee River, Florida.
Subtropical Storm Nicole began a transition to a tropical storm on Tuesday morning as it gradually strengthened. More thunderstorms formed near the center of Nicole’s circulation. Thunderstorms near the center of circulation is one of the characteristics of a tropical storm. There was still a large area of tropical storm force winds around Nicole, which is one of the characteristics of a subtropical storm. Winds to tropical storm force extended out almost 400 miles (645 km) in the northern side of Subtropical Storm Nicole. Those winds were not entirely being produced by Nicole’s circulation. A large surface high pressure system was over the northeastern U.S. The high pressure system was interacting with the northern side of Nicole’s circulation to generate the large area of tropical storm force winds.
Subtropical Storm Nicole will move through an environment that is favorable for a transition to a tropical storm during the next 24 hours. Nicole will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 28˚C. It will move into a region where the upper level winds are weaker and the vertical wind shear will diminish. Subtropical Storm Nicole is likely to complete the transition to a tropical storm during the next 24 hours. Nicole will move over warmer water when it moves over the Gulf Stream on Wednesday. Nicole could intensify to a hurricane when it moves over the warmer water.
The surface high pressure system currently over the northeastern U.S. will block Subtropical Storm Nicole from moving toward the north. The high pressure system will steer Nicole toward the west-southwest during the next 24 hours. On its anticipated track Subtropical Storm Nicole will reach the Northwestern Bahamas on Wednesday morning. Nicole will move toward the west-northwest on Wednesday when it reaches the southwestern part of the high pressure system. Nicole will reach the coast of Southeast Florida on Wednesday night. Nicole could be a hurricane when it reaches Florida. Nicole is likely to bring strong, gusty winds and locally heavy rain to the Northwestern Bahamas and to central and northern Florida. The winds in the northern side of Nicole will blow water toward the coast of Florida and the Southeast U.S. Those winds will cause a storm surge and serious beach erosion when Nicole moves toward the coast.