Nicole hits the Bahamas and is expected to become a hurricane before hitting Florida overnight

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Tropical Storm Nicole hits the northwest Bahamas en route to eastern Florida, where it is expected to hit like a hurricane by early Thursday and bring heavy rain, damaging winds and possibly tornadoes in some places again retrieve of Hurricane Ian.

Nicole is bringing dangerous storm surge and high winds to Grand Bahama Island, the US National Hurricane Center said in its 4 p.m. ET update.

The center of Nicole, with sustained winds of 70 mph, just 4 mph shy of hurricane force, passed over the Bahamas Great Abaco Island Wednesday at the beginning of the afternoon then Grand Bahama and it is more than 50,000 inhabitants.

Nicole is expected to eventually become a Category 1 hurricane Wednesday en route to Florida, where it could make landfall on the southeast or east-central Florida coast overnight, according to the hurricane center.

Forecasters added that those affected by the storm should not focus on the exact track of the center of the storm, as Nicole is a large storm with “hazards extending well north” of the projected track.

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“Nicole’s outer bands have already begun to impact east-central Florida,” the National Weather Service office in Melbourne, Florida said. said in a 3:30 a.m. tweet. “The conditions, especially along the coast, are dangerous. The waters will begin to rise again this afternoon when the high tide arrives around 8:20 to 8:30 p.m. STAY AWAY FROM BEACHES.

Nicole would be the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States in November in nearly 40 years. More than 5.3 million people along Florida’s east coast are under a hurricane warning and 4.1 million are under a hurricane watch.

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Tropical storm-force winds (39 to 73 mph) were already battering parts of Florida’s east coast Wednesday morning, the hurricane center said, as was flooding. Ankle-deep water was pooling in parts of Boynton Beach north of Boca Raton, photos posted by the police on Facebook To display.

Some drivers were also navigating ankle-deep floodwaters on the streets of West Palm Beach on Wednesday morning, video of CNN Affiliate WPEC shows.

After landing in Florida, Nicole is expected to weaken as she crosses the southeastern United States on Thursday and Friday. Still, it’s still a threat of flooding and damage in Florida, which has been reeling for Ian hit in September along the west coast and then wreaked havoc across the state, killing at least 120 people in the state and leveling neighborhoods.

In addition to the destructive winds, Nicole should deliver:

• Heavy Rain: About 3 to 8 inches are possible from the northwest Bahamas to eastern, central and northern parts of Florida. About 2 to 6 inches are expected from parts of the southeastern United States south and central Appalachia and west of the mid-Atlantic through Friday, the hurricane center said.

• Storm surge: coastal water levels could rise as much as 6 feet above normal tide in the Northwest Bahamas and up to 5 feet from North Palm Beach in Florida to Altamaha Sound in Georgia. Surges of up to 4 feet are possible south and north of this range, including across parts of the South Carolina coast.

• Tornadoes: Some tornadoes are possible Wednesday night through Thursday in eastern Florida, southeast Georgia, eastern South Carolina and southeast North Carolina, the report said. hurricane center.

Tropical storm-force winds extended up to 485 miles from the center of Nicole, the hurricane center said. The huge wind field – wider than Ian’s stronger on his approach to Florida – means nearly the entire state will experience winds of 39 mph or more from Nicole.

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