Update on #Nicole, Monday Afternoon 7 Nov 2022; coastal flooding expected in GA, SC all this week at high tide

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:

Click to embiggen.

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:

See that box “developing gale” off of Georgia/SC? That’s a problem – see below.

That said, the track guidance is fairly well consolidated, although after the storm hits Florida it scatters a bit …

Major track “spaghetti” models. Cook before consuming.

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.

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