Subtropical Storm Nicole: Hurricane watch issued for Florida’s east coast as the state grapples with devastation from Hurricane Ian

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CNN

A rare November hurricane could hit Florida’s east coast this week as residents try to recover from a fatal crash Hurricane Ian.

Subtropical Storm Nicole is expected to continue to strengthen and is expected to be a Category 1 hurricane when it approaches Florida’s east coast Wednesday evening through Thursday morning, the National Hurricane Center said Monday.

Warmer-than-normal ocean waters in the region will allow for strengthening as the system expands and could lead to the formation of a hurricane in November, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.

The last hurricane to hit the United States in November was Hurricane Kate in 1985.

A hurricane watch is now in effect along Florida’s east coast from the Volusia/Brevard county line to Hallandale Beach, the National Hurricane Center said.

The watch stretches from North Miami to the Space Coast and includes Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Cape Canaveral and Melbourne.

A storm surge watch has also been issued for parts of Florida and Georgia, from Altamaha Sound to Hallandale Beach.

Florida officials have warned residents – some of whom have recently been hit by Hurricane Ian – that the new storm could bring heavy rain and damaging winds this week.

“Heavy rain, coastal flooding, high winds and rip tides will impact eastern Florida and the southeastern United States,” CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford said.

Rainfall in the Sunshine State could range between 2 and 4 inches, with isolated amounts that could exceed 6 inches, Shackelford said.

Already, the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are under flash flood watch through Monday afternoon, and tropical storm watches are in effect for the northwest Bahamas.

Areas south of Tampa — some of which are still trying to recover from Hurricane Ian’s destruction in September — could see 2 to 4 inches of rain inundated.

Orlando could get 1-2 inches of rain and areas south of Jacksonville could get 1-4 inches.

Ahead of the storm, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Sunday urged residents to take precautions.

“I encourage all Floridians to prepare and make a plan in case a storm hits Florida,” DeSantis said in a press release.

DeSantis said residents should prepare for an increased risk of coastal flooding, high winds, rain, rip currents and beach erosion.

On Tuesday, Election Day, much of the Florida peninsula can expect gusty windy conditions. Chances of rain are expected to increase throughout the day for central and eastern cities such as Miami north of Daytona Beach and inland toward Orlando and Okeechobee.

“Conditions may deteriorate as early as Tuesday and persist through Thursday night/Friday morning,” the National Weather Service in Miami said.

“Impacts to South Florida can include rip currents, coastal flooding, dangerous surf/sea conditions, torrential rains, strong sustained winds, and waterspouts/tornadoes.”

DeSantis said officials are coordinating with local emergency management authorities in all 67 counties in the state.

The goal is “to identify potential resource gaps and implement plans that will allow the state to respond quickly and effectively prior to potential strengthening” of the storm system, according to the statement.

Hurricane Ian made landfall on September 28 as a strong Category 4 storm on the west coast of the Florida peninsula, bringing winds near 150 mph.

The ferocious storm killed at least 120 people in Florida, destroyed many homes and leveled small communities. Thousands of people were left without electricity or water for entire days.

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