Subtropical storm Nicole is now expected to become tropical storm Nicole, still expanding on approach to Florida’s east coast, while hurricane watches have now been raised and the NHC forecast suggests the storm will be upgraded to hurricane Nicole prior to making landfall.
A significant stretch of Florida’s eastern seaboard is now under various watches, for hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge conditions.
Subtropical storm Nicole has now expanded significant to have a wind field that sees 40 mph winds stretching some 610 km out from its center, while at the same time the central pressure is deepening somewhat, suggesting strengthening is set to begin.
Storm Nicole continues to have maximum sustained winds of around 45 mph with higher gusts as it tracks towards the northern Bahamas.
The minimum central pressure is estimated at 995mb, but some hurricane models now show a much deeper storm reaching Florida’s east coast, potentially at Category 1 strength.
Given the significant wind field of subtropical storm Nicole, a hurricane or tropical storm of that size can still cause significant impacts over a particularly wide area, hence insurance, reinsurance and ILS market interests will be watching how things develop over the next few days very closely.
The latest NHC updates states that “Nicole is expected to make a transition to a tropical storm later today and begin strengthening, and it is forecast to be near or at hurricane strength by Wednesday and Wednesday night while it is moving near the northwestern Bahamas and approaching the east coast of Florida.”
As a tropical system, Nicole may wrap up tighter and shrink the wind field somewhat. But still, this will be a very large storm, with its effects likely to be felt across a significant area of the Florida peninsula as a result.
The latest forecast track and expected wind speeds can be seen on Tomer Burg’s excellent map below, which uses NHC data:
The NHC’s forecast cone can also be seen below:
As you can see, the forecast continues to call for hurricane Nicole to be named as this storm intensifies on approach to Florida’s east coast.
The NHC says that Nicole is expected to strengthen through today and on Wednesday and is expected to be at or near hurricane intensity as it nears Florida.
Storm surge peaks are currently forecast to reach 3 ft to 5 ft along the Florida east coast from North Palm Beach to Altamaha Sound including the St. Johns River to the Fuller Warren Bridge, while the Bahamas could see surge peak at 6 foot.
Rainfall totals from the storm are forecast to reach as much as 7 inches, ample for significant flooding.
If Nicole becomes tropical and intensifies, even just to a low windspeed Category 1 hurricane Nicole, those storm surge forecast may increase a little, and also spread more widely along Florida’s coast, while rainfall storm totals could also increase.
The prospect of a hurricane strength, or near hurricane strength storm, with a tropical storm wind field extending more than 610 km out from its center could threaten a much more impactful coastal and inland flood event, while also meaning strong and potentially damaging winds reach a significant area of Florida.
Meteorologists continue to talk about the relatively slow-moving nature of storm Nicole as well, which could pile water up against the Florida coast across more than one tide cycle, exacerbating the coastal flood effects.
Nicole really is a reminder that the tropics can throw storm events in the direction of Florida’s peninsula even in November, something the insurance and reinsurance industry has become far less used to in recent years.
Nicole to become tropical as it expands. Florida on hurricane watch was published by: www.Artemis.bm
Our catastrophe bond deal directory
Sign up for our free weekly email newsletter here.