TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hurricane Nicole formed in the Atlantic basin early this week and is expected to impact Florida in the coming days.
Hurricane and storm surge watches have already been issued for Florida’s east coast, with the National Hurricane Center forecasting a landfall some time Wednesday night. While Nicole is expected to make landfall on the Atlantic coast, people living along the Gulf Coast and in Tampa Bay will still feel impacts.
Here’s what to expect in Tampa Bay:
The wind gusts will be a little stronger Wednesday morning, 15 to 25 mph with an occasional 30 mph gust is possible. The gusts will get a little steadier and slightly stronger throughout the day and especially into Wednesday evening and the overnight hours.
There will be more frequent passing downpours throughout the day with outer rain bands from Nicole beginning to pass through, but there will be dry time outside of the passing rain. The winds will be gusty inside and outside of any rain that passes.
The Tampa Bay area will see the brunt of Nicole Thursday with tropical storm force winds area wide. Winds will be quite gusty starting before sunrise lasting through Thursday evening. Occasional wind gusts up to 50 mph are possible, more frequent gusts of 20 to 40 mph are likely across the area.
There will be a steady light to moderate rain across the area are well as Nicole passes through the area. At times the rain will be pick up briefly as a heavier rain band moves through.
Rainfall totals will be highest in Highlands, Polk and Citrus Counties with three to six inches possible. The rest of the area will likely see between one and three inches of rain with isolated areas of slightly higher amounts.
Flooding is not a huge concern with Nicole because the ground has had time to dry out since the flooding seen with Hurricane Ian. River levels are all back to normal and any rain that does fall, will first soak into the ground before moving toward the rivers. The Tampa Bay area will also see far less rain than Hurricane Ian brought.
Showers will start to become more scattered and far less frequent Thursday night into Friday as Nicole quickly moves north.
Winds will also begin to subside and by Friday, it will still be breezy, but wind speeds will be between 15 to 25 mph, not to tropical storm force strength anymore.
Areas along the coast could see a slightly higher than normal tide Friday due to the winds shifting direction and becoming more westerly, pushing a little water onshore. However, coastal flooding is a very low concern and by Friday, conditions will be greatly improved compared to Thursday.