Storm Surge, Hurricane Watches Issued for Florida’s East Coast

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)

Subtropical Storm Nicole will likely keep strengthening and is expected to be a Category 1 hurricane when it approaches Florida’s east coast, experts say. Landfall will occur late Wednesday into Thursday morning, the National Hurricane Center said Monday morning.

A hurricane watch is currently in effect along the east coast of Florida. It stretches from the Volusia/Brevard county line to Hallandale Beach, the hurricane center said.

The watch extends from just north of Miami to the Space Coast. It includes Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Cape Canaveral and Melbourne.

A storm surge watch has also been issued for parts of Florida and Georgia, from Altamaha Sound to Hallandale Beach.

Florida officials have been warning residents that a tropical system could bring heavy rain and damaging winds this week. Many of the residents suffered massive damage during the recent Hurricane Ian.

The warning comes as Subtropical Storm Nicole formed in the southwest Atlantic about 555 miles east of northwestern Bahamas. According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm now packs winds of 45 mph with high gusts. It’s expected to begin impacting Florida by Tuesday evening.

Already, the US territories of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands are under a flash flood watch through Monday afternoon. Tropical storm watches remain in effect for northwest Bahamas.

As the system forms, it will may continue toward Florida and the Southeast US through early this week. CNN Meteorologist Robert Shackelford provides his insight.

“Regardless of development, heavy rainfall, coastal flooding, gale force winds and rip tides will impact eastern Florida and the southeast US,” Shackelford explained.

Threat of Hurricane Could Impact Election Day in Florida

Rainfalls in the Sunshine State could potentially range between 2 and 4 inches. Some isolated amounts could exceed 6 inches, according to Shackelford.

Areas south of Tampa, some of which are still in recovery mode following Hurricane Ian’s landfall in late September, could be drenched with 2 to 4 inches of rain. Orlando also stays at risk of seeing 1 to 2 inches of rain while areas south of Jacksonville could be hit with 1 to 4 inches.

Ahead of the storm, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urged residents Sunday to take precaution.

“I encourage all Floridians to be prepared and make a plan in the event a storm impacts Florida,” DeSantis said in a news release. “We will continue to monitor the path and trajectory of Invest 98L and we remain in constant contact with all state and local government partners.”

DeSantis said that residents should prepare for an increased risk of coastal flooding. Also, heavy winds, rain, rip currents and beach erosion will most likely occur. “Wind gusts can be expected as soon as Tuesday of next week along Florida’s East Coast,” he added.

However, on Tuesday, which is Election Day, much of the Florida Peninsula can expect breezy to gusty conditions. Chances of rain should increase throughout the day for central and eastern cities such as Miami north to Daytona Beach. It will also reach inland toward Orlando and Okeechobee.

“Conditions may deteriorate as early as Tuesday and persist into Thursday night/Friday morning,” the National Weather Service in Miami said. “Impacts to South Florida may include rip currents, coastal flooding, dangerous surf/marine conditions, flooding rainfall, strong sustained winds, and waterspouts/tornadoes.”