THURSDAY NIGHT UPDATE
After a day of steady rain and squally weather, the center of the former Tropical Storm Nicole passed over the Tallahassee metro counties Thursday evening with less fanfare.
Nicole's central low-pressure circulation is now moving northwest at 15 mph, located near Cairo, Ga. Its highest winds are at 35 mph.
LOCAL STORM OVERVIEW
Now that Nicole is a tropical depression, all previous tropical storm and storm surge warnings have been discontinued.
The strongest wind gusts at night will occur in Apalachee Bay waters, where gusts can reach or exceed 35 knots. A wind advisory is posted for the stretch of the Big Bend coastline until 5 a.m. Friday.
Rain totals thus far range from about half an inch in western areas to nearly two inches in the Suwannee River counties. An additional half-inch to one inch of rain is possible.
Offshore winds at the coast will transition to onshore flow tonight. This will cause the receded water levels from earlier Thursday to return to normal levels. The south and southwest brisk wind from Apalachee Bay will create a notable storm surge increase of up to four feet along the central and southern extent of the Taylor County coastline. A coastal flood advisory is in effect for the coasts of Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor counties until 6:00 a.m. Friday, after high tide has passed.
A moisture flow can cause a band of rain to move northeast into the eastern Big Bend counties overnight, but there are no particular concerns for severe weather effects.
11/10 AM UPDATE:
Tropical Storm conditions develop as Tropical Storm Nicole approaches our area.
At 3 AM Thursday morning, Nicole made landfall on the Atlantic Coast of Florida as a Category 1 hurricane.
This is the second time in recorded history a hurricane has made landfall on the east coast of Florida in the month of November.
After moving over the Florida peninsula, Tropical Storm Nicole will partially move over the Gulf before making a northwest turn.
Tropical Storm Nicole is expected to move over our area later Thursday night, but impacts will be felt well before the storm arrives.
Tropical Storm Warnings are still in effect for all our counties with gusts up to 40-45 MPH possible with an isolated gust of up to 50 MPH possible.
Offshore wind will gust closer to 50 knots.
Storm Surge Warnings are in effect for counites around the Big Bend’s central and eastern side with up to 1-3’ of surge possible.
A few spots of isolated flooding is possible, but this will be very spotty with a few areas of pooling water on roadways as initial heavy rain moves in.
The timing of rain comes this morning through Friday morning.
Wind gusts pick up throughout the day, but the gusts winds move in this afternoon and evening.
Impacts will also include isolated to scattered power outages Thursday.
Keep in mind that debris is also possible on roadways.
Nicole turned into a hurricane Wednesday evening as it passed over Grand Bahama Island, en route to the southeastern Florida coastline overnight.
Nicole is now moving west-northwest at 13 mph, with its center about 75 miles east of West Palm Beach Wednesday night. Its highest winds are at 75 mph.
Nicole's strongest winds are contained within 25 miles of the eye of the storm, but its tropical storm wind field extends nearly 500 miles north of the center.
It is still forecast to reach the Treasure Coast of the eastern Florida peninsula overnight as a category 1 hurricane. After landfall, a change in direction to the north, then northeast, is anticipated through Friday.
LOCAL STORM OVERVIEW
At its closest approach to our region Thursday, Nicole will be a weakening tropical storm. It will not be a hurricane, even if the center of Nicole happens to move over the Apalachee Bay waters.
TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS remain in effect for all Big Bend and southern Georgia counties in the ABC 27 service area. This means tropical storm conditions, including winds speeds measured at or above 40 mph, will develop across our area by Thursday morning.
Wednesday night wind gusts will be around 25 to 30 mph, with sustained winds around 10 to 20 mph.
Gusts up to 45 mph are possible Thursday, while steady wind speeds will range from 20 to 35 mph in most areas. Strongest wind gusts will occur in Apalachee Bay waters, where gusts can reach 50 knots.
Our biggest wind impacts will include tree debris (leaves, twigs, branches, and the like) and isolated power outages. Some structural damage can occur from fallen larger limbs or downed trees.
Rain totals will be around one to two inches across the region through Friday. Totals near three inches are possible in the Suwannee Valley. Isolated higher amounts, or heavy rain falling in a short amount of time, can trigger localized flooding.
Storm surge of up to 4 feet above normally dry ground is possible Thursday afternoon through Friday morning along the eastern Big Bend shoreline. A storm surge warning is in effect for the coastline of Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor counties. Lesser storm surge amounts are possible along Franklin County and the barrier islands, where a storm surge watch is issued.
A limited chance for a spin-up tornado exists Thursday and late Wednesday east of Interstate 75. Tornadoes are not expected to be a widespread hazard for the region.