Nicole is now a tropical depression, over central Georgia, continuing to decay and transition form a warm core (tropical) system into a non-tropical system. Here’s what it looks like on the radar composite around 6am ET today (Friday 11 Nov 2022) which of course is embiggenable by clicking:
For those in GA/SC, for the coast there are still some rain bands moving across the area and gusty winds, but those will clear out as the day goes on. The tornado threat has moved on, north of Charleston and declining. The only report I have seen of a tornado was a funnel cloud near Jacksonville. As for impacts, it was pretty much as expected, concentrated on the coast. Here are the NWS Local Storm Reports for the last 48 hours. There were flood reports around Brunswick, the only ones I see around Savannah were US 80 briefly closed around the time of high tide, and that looks like it.
Impacts in Florida are of course worse. At least two deaths have been attributed to the storm, it is probably higher as such things tend to be undercounted. There is dramatic video of homes falling into the water near Daytona Beach due to the erosion that Ian got started, and Nicole made worse. Right now it looks like close to $4 Billion in damage – upwards of a third of that from the weakened state of infrastructure in Florida from Ian.
In their recent discussions, the Charleston Weather Service Forecast Office has gone in to more detail about the possible tornado threat to coastal Georgia and South Carolina. Here is what they have to say …
Model soundings are certainly concerning and indicative of a classic tropical tornado environment … A couple of key things to keep in mind. First, the tornado threat window will be in place for an extended period of time, roughly 18-20 hours or so from midday through the overnight, so vigilance will be important. Second, much of this tornado threat window will occur at night so it will be important for the public to have a way to receive and react to warnings during typical sleeping hours.
This is why I strongly advise having a NOAA weather radio on hand. They have a very loud alert, and unlike sirens, cell phone or app warnings, these go off the moment the forecaster issues the warning. Trust me – when they go off, you don’t want a cat sleeping on you! Those seconds to minutes count. In the case of sirens, they aren’t meant to be heard inside even though they are sometimes. They are also highly dependent on wind direction – and in strong winds like today, often you can be outside and upwind and not hear them.
So what do you do when you get an alert? In this part of the country we don’t normally have tornado shelters or specially constructed “safe rooms.” But we also don’t get the classical, long track, strong F4 or F5 tornadoes, and tropical cyclones’ generally don’t spawn that kind of twister anyway. The best protection is a small, interior, windowless room or basement on the lowest level of a sturdy building. So while nothing to panic over, be aware of the potential today, and be alert for warnings.
Hurricane (now tropical storm) Nicole made landfall near Vero Beach this morning at 3am ET. While there are areas of hurricane force winds offshore, the wind field is huge, with all of the land reports I have seen so far in the tropical storm category. Here is what it looks like on radar at 5am …
and on infrared satellite (the sun isn’t up yet!):
It looks like Nicole will have economic impacts on the order of $2.2 to $2.8 Billion dollars. Something like $500 to $800 billion of that probably wouldn’t have happened had it not been for Hurricane Ian; that is damage and other impacts that occurred due to interrupted repairs and a disrupted recovery process. I wouldn’t expect to see dramatic damage aside from isolated spots, but such a wide area is impacted it adds up quickly.
GA/SC Update: Fortunately for the GA/SC coast, it looks like the more inland track, combined with other factors such as a collapsing wind field, will mean impacts will not be significantly worse that what you are seeing out your windows this morning. The only difference is the rain bands, which may be locally heavy and produce isolated floodings in the usual places. Still also a chance for an isolated weak tornado. Keep your weather radio armed – but aside from knowing where you would go to seek shelter (the best protection is a small, interior, windowless room or basement on the lowest level of a sturdy building) it’s not something to get overly stressed about. Maybe some scattered power outages.
Right on the coast, the highest expected tide is this morning’s high tide. At Fort Pulaski it should top out at around 10 feet, which is moderate flood stage. From NWS: At 10.0 ft MLLW, moderate coastal flooding occurs. Shipyard Rd will be impassable, isolating residents on Burnside Island. Water will start to encroach on HW-80 and as the tide gets closer to 10.5 ft MLLW, could begin to cover portions of the roadway. Flooding will expand on Tybee Island and Catalina Dr and Lewis Ave will be impassable. Flooding will also impact Wilmington Island, the Coffee Bluff community, Ossabaw Island, Sapelo Island, and portions of HW-17 south of Darien. I don’t think US80 will get water on it this time, if so it won’t be much (Update at 10:30am: the water levels did spike briefly to 10.5 feet, and US80 got water on it. Shouldn’t last long). Tomorrow (Friday) high tide should be back to normal.
This should be mostly over by late tonight for the coast as the center passes off to the west, maybe some remaining gusts and rain in the morning but shouldn’t be anything serious by then.
TLDR: some damage in Florida, two blustery days with the potential for shallow coastal flooding right on the coast in GA/SC – think nor’easter – but nothing dangerous. Here’s the details:
As of this morning Nicole has finally gained enough tropical characteristics to be declared a tropical storm, but is still isn’t really very tropical. The winds are just below hurricane force, but the tropical storm winds are extensive, extending nearly nearly 400 miles to the north of the center of the storm. Here is a link to the Key Messages regarding Tropical Storm Nicole (en Español: Mensajes Claves), and the impact swath from my TAOS/TC model:
Nicole will likely have an area of hurricane force winds when it hits Florida. Right now the thinking is the storm will lose tropical characteristics quickly. Still, given the residual damage from Ian, likely economic impacts will be in the $2 Billion USD range. The track guidance is fairly tight until landfall, but the speed of the turn might technically take the storm back over the Gulf although it won’t help it regain strength. Again, this is a big storm, so the track (and NHC’s “cone of shame”) don’t matter so much. Fee free to ignore anyone who even mentions the cone other than to say don’t use it (like that guy on local radio in Savannah who was jibbering incoherently about it this morning).
For the Georgia/South Carolina coast, there are three factors. The first is the wind, which probably won’t be that bad even though we are on the “strong” side of the storm. Just a blustery couple of days, maybe some scattered power outages. The trees are already “hunkering down” for fall/winter, so they are less likely to drop limbs although a few aren’t out of the question. Weak tornadoes/water spouts are possible on this side of the storm, so keep your weather radio armed. The second factor, for those right on coast, is that tides will run well above normal the next two days due to high onshore winds, on the order of two to three feet. At Fort Pulaski, the forecast for the tides this morning and tomorrow are for between 10 and 10.5 feet, which is the moderate flood stage. We should stay below 10.5 feet. What that means in the real world is …
At 9.5 ft MLLW, minor coastal flooding occurs. Flooding will begin to impact Shipyard Road to Burnside Island. Parts of Ft Pulaski National Monument will begin to flood, including several trails. Flooding will also begin to impact Tybee Island including Catalina Dr and Lewis Ave. In Bryan County, water could breach docks near Ft McAllister and flooding will impact portions of Mill Hill Rd. In Liberty County, flooding impacts the Halfmoon Landing area and Cattle Hammock Rd near Bermuda Bluff subdivision. At 10.0 ft MLLW, moderate coastal flooding occurs. Shipyard Rd will be impassable, isolating residents on Burnside Island. Water will start to encroach on HW-80 and as the tide gets closer to 10.5 ft MLLW, could begin to cover portions of the roadway. Flooding will expand on Tybee Island and Catalina Dr and Lewis Ave will be impassable. Flooding will also impact Wilmington Island, the Coffee Bluff community, Ossabaw Island, Sapelo Island, and portions of HW-17 south of Darien. At 10.5 ft MLLW, major coastal flooding occurs. Damaging flooding is expected, expanding along the entire southeast Georgia coast. Flooding will likely cause the closure of HW-80, isolating residents on Tybee Island. Several other island communities will also likely become isolated due to flooded and impassable roadways. On Tybee Island, widespread significant flooding is expected with numerous properties impacted.
From NWS WSFO Charleston flood stage guide
Rain is the other factor. There is some potential for “training” – embedded rain cells to line up and dump on one spot for long periods of time. Those spots might get a lot of rain and some localized flooding. But on the plus side it’s a fast moving system. Here is the rain total forecast for the next five days. It doesn’t look so bad at this point:
As for timing, conditions will deteriorate across the GA/SC coast today from south to north, dry most of the day with rain moving in tonight after sunset. Using Savannah as the reference, winds should pick up after noon today, and stay gusty until after noon Friday. I’m not seeing a distinct “peak” of the winds, given the expected organization of the storm. By sunset Friday it should all be over. If you live south of Savannah like Brunswick, things will happen a few hours earlier; if north (Beaufort/HHI) a few hours later.
So all in all, if in Central Florida you should be wrapping up preparations for a minimal hurricane. Everywhere else should prepare for a blustery day that will feel more like a nor’easter than a hurricane. Inconvenient, but not really hazardous outside localize street flooding and right on the coast. Right on the water, if you flood with tides 2-3 feet above normal, be ready for that at the morning high tides Thursday and Friday.
Just a reminder if you’re up before sunrise on the east coast, if the sky is clear look low in the western sky and you can see a total lunar eclipse in progress. As I write this (4:40am EDT) the moon is about half in the Earth’s shadow, totality (when the moon will be completely inside the inner shadow) will be at 5:15am. In the rest of the country you should have increasingly better views; on the west coast and Hawai’i almost overhead for you guys up late.
Very little change in the Nicole forecast – obligatory link to NHC’s Key Messages regarding Subtropical Storm Nicole (en Español: Mensajes Claves). Still classified as subtropical, it should become a tropical storm later today as it turns sharply towards Florida. “landfall” now looks to be more central than South Florida, but that doesn’t matter too much. East coast of Florida and the Georgia coast up to Brusnwick are now under a tropical storm warning; watches for the west coast of Florida. Expect the watches to creep northward today to the Savannah and SC Lowcountry. As for impacts, nothing has changed, the post yesterday afternoon except the timing, with impacts being about 12-18 hours earlier than the estimate yesterday. The peak water levels along the GA/SC coast will probably be around 10.5 ft MLLW (Fort Pulaski gauge) on Thursday morning high tide. On this track, the worst will likely be Thursday night rather than Friday, and other than scattered power outages and some limbs down I don’t expect serious impacts to the northern GA coast and SC other than shallow coastal flooding Wednesday and Thursday mornings right on the coast
At this point no idea about closures in GA/SC., hard to know which way the decision makers are likely to bounce. Like Ian, it’s another borderline case for schools and other facilities, except this time I think it’s probably leaning a lot more towards the “no” side than the “yes” side north of maybe Darien. Thursday and Friday will be messy in either case. Blustery for a couple days, maybe some periods of heavy rain, but nothing dangerous or probably really all that disruptive except in localized places.
First, as always your first stop for hurricane information should be the National Hurricane Center’s Key Messages regarding Subtropical Storm Nicole (en Español: Mensajes Claves). Here’s a few notes on what to expect based on their forecast. This is what the damage swath looks like using my TAOS/TC model – it’s an odd looking map for an odd storm,a lot larger than most storms, but no really catastrophic damage:
The track and timing of Nicole, as do most hurricanes this time of year, depends on the timing of approaching cold fronts that pick up the storms and “eject” them towards the northeast. Looking at this afternoon’s analysis from TPC we can see a weak front draped across the Southeast, with Nicole lurking offshore. Expect the official track to jump around some as the storm approaches Florida – and for those in the southeast and on the coast of GA/SC those swings will matter a lot depending of if the storm goes inland (and how far) or goes back offshore. The exact track and to some extent intensity depends o the interaction between Nicole and that incoming frontal system. Here’s the map, with the infrared satellite image (showing cloud top temperatures) as a backdrop:
That said, the track guidance is fairly well consolidated, although after the storm hits Florida it scatters a bit …
It’s not likely at all that Nicole will become a major hurricane, but lots of central Florida is still recovering from Ian, and that’s a problem. Roofs that are already damaged and covered only in tarps while waiting for repair will get further damage as well as more rain intrusion, causing more damage than if Nicole had hit someplace fresh. Power outages are likely to be more extensive that otherwise as well due to patched together systems. That could increase the toll by as much as two billion dollars! The current estimate is hovering around $4 Billion (which includes that factor).
Notes for Georgia and South Carolina: Nicole is a large system and even if it consolidates and becomes a hurricane, there looks to be onshore winds across the entire Georgia coast as well as South Carolina for the rest of this week. Given the already high astronomical tides (full moon) that means the usual places will flood. Tides look to run two to three feet above normal, starting with the high tide Tuesday morning. Tuesday should be close to 9.5 feet MLLW at Fort Pulaski, which means …
At 9.5 ft MLLW, minor coastal flooding occurs. Flooding will begin to impact Shipyard Road to Burnside Island. Parts of Ft Pulaski National Monument will begin to flood, including several trails. Flooding will also begin to impact Tybee Island including Catalina Dr and Lewis Ave. In Bryan County, water could breach docks near Ft McAllister and flooding will impact portions of Mill Hill Rd. In Liberty County, flooding impacts the Halfmoon Landing area and Cattle Hammock Rd near Bermuda Bluff subdivision.
–WSFO Charleston Flood stage guidance
Wednesday and Thursday look to be well into the “moderate” flood stage category:
At 10.0 ft MLLW, moderate coastal flooding occurs. Shipyard Rd will be impassable, isolating residents on Burnside Island. Water will start to encroach on HW-80 and as the tide gets closer to 10.5 ft MLLW, could begin to cover portions of the roadway. Flooding will expand on Tybee Island and Catalina Dr and Lewis Ave will be impassable. Flooding will also impact Wilmington Island, the Coffee Bluff community, Ossabaw Island, Sapelo Island, and portions of HW-17 south of Darien.
–WSFO Charleston Flood stage guidance
If the forecast stays on track as it is now, Friday will be the worst of it and the tides may top 10.5 feet, which is major flood stage. But too soon to “buy trouble” looking that far ahead and in any event, Nicole is going to be inconvenient for us, hazardous only right on the water, and not dangerous with even a little common sense (ok, I can dream 😛 ). At this point the TLDR is that Thursday will be the worse for south GA coast and Jacksonville, Friday early the worst for north GA coast, and during the day Friday for the Charleston area. But the whole coast looks breezy for the rest of this week starting tomorrow (Tuesday), with rain moving in Thursday and Friday. But the timing on all of that might easily shift to later depending on how things go the next 24 hours.
There has been a very broad area of disturbed weather than has consolidated enough for NHC to start advisories and tracking this morning. Here are the Key Messages regarding Subtropical Storm Nicole. Here is the impact swath using the new forecast – it’s expected to be a big storm with broad (but not catastrophic) impacts:
The forecast track is only fair at this point, but that probably doesn’t matter too much unless it strengthens more than currently forecast. The NHC track has the storm making landfall around Vero Beach as a tropical storm, but GFS now has it landing over Miami as a hurricane. We should know more later today. Either way, the entire southeast coast from Miami to the Outer Banks will probably feel this at some point. Expect some track shifts as things settle down. There are tropical storm watches over The Bahamas, and the US coast will start to see watches today. Florida is going to see some damage – maybe upwards of $2 Billion, with some compounding due to the ongoing cleanup from Ian.
By the way, remember that due to the time change NHC advisories are now at 4am, 10am, 4pm, and 10pm, with intermediate updates at 7am, 1pm, 7pm, and 1am. NHC advisories and all weather forecasts globally are based on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC – formerly known as Greenwich Mean Time – GMT) so it changes with our stupid time zone shifts.
For Coastal Georgia and the SC Lowcountry, the onshore winds will mean tides will be running above normal this week – tomorrow is full moon (and remember there is a total lunar eclipse in the morning, peak will be around 6am with the moon low in the west). So we all know what that means: people right on the coast will likely seem some shallow flooding around high tides. On the current track and speed the peak storm effects in this area will be late in the week, Friday and Saturday as the storm passes either directly over the area or just offshore. Winds should pick up Tuesday (this is a very broad storm system), and Friday will likely be messy – or not, depending on the exact track. At this point hard to tell if there will be cancellations Friday. Things should start to clear out Saturday – but the timing is hard to tell at this point.
Administrative note: as previously noted, I’m still trying to figure out how to navigate the increasingly nasty internet environment and to what extent to continue posts, and in what format.. Since this storm will impact many of those who have followed the blog for some time I will be doing periodic posts (and for those who don’t like it can just, um, well, you know – why are you wasting time bothering me if I don’t know what I’m talking about???). I’m going to allow for comments for now in case people have questions (and to be fair the vast majority are great!)