Hurricane Nicole hits the northern Bahamas on its way to the Florida coast

Nicole, already a category 1 hurricane, hits the northwest of the Atlantic archipelago of the Bahamas this Wednesday on its way to the east coast of Florida (USA), where it will arrive in the course of the next few hours.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) of the United States, based in Miami, reported in its bulletin at 7:00 p.m. local time (midnight GMT) that Hurricane Nicole is located about 20 miles (30 km) east of Freeport, the largest city on the island of Grand Bahama, and 100 miles (160 km) east of West Palm Beach (Florida), with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 km/h).

Nicole, moving west near 13 miles per hour (20 km/h), is expected to turn west-northwestward tonight, a track it will maintain through Thursday and Friday.

On the forecast track, the center of Nicole will move toward the east coast of Florida within the hurricane warning area tonight.

Then, the center of Nicole is expected to head across central and northern Florida into southern Georgia on Thursday night and the Carolinas on Friday.

The forecast is for Nicole to remain a hurricane until it reaches the east coast of Florida tonight or early Thursday.

It is expected to weaken as it moves across Florida and the southeastern United States Thursday through Friday, and is likely to become a post-tropical cyclone by Friday afternoon.

Central and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 485 miles (780 km) from the center.

ORDER OF EVACUATION AND ACCESS TO CLOSED BRIDGES

The next arrival of the hurricane is already affecting the coastal area of ​​eastern Florida, where local authorities have cut off access to several bridges that connect to the state’s barrier islands.

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Saint Lucie County authorities announced that they had banned access due to deteriorating weather conditions.

Hours earlier, coastal roads such as Indian River Drive near Jensen Beach were blocked when high waves began to break against the seawall.

Also in Florida, in the Fernandina Beach area, storm surge raised sea levels over 3 feet (about 1 meter).

Other notable increases this Wednesday in sea level were recorded in Port Canaveral, where there is an important cruise terminal, with 2.5 feet (75 centimeters), or Mayport, with 2.3 feet (70 centimeters).

As the hurricane approaches Florida, rain storms and high tides flooded portions of State Highway A1A, in the coastal area of ​​the city of Fort Lauderdale, 30 kilometers from Miami.

Due to the passage through the region of the system, a hurricane warning is in effect in the Atlantic archipelago for the islands of Abacos, Berry and Grand Bahama, in the northwest of the Bahamas.

In Florida, the alert affects Boca Raton to Flagler and Volusia counties, where evacuation orders have been issued for residents on the barrier islands.

The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause areas near the coast to be inundated by rising seas.

Large swells generated by Nicole will affect the northwestern Bahamas, the eastern coast of Florida and much of the southeastern coast of the United States during the next few days.

Florida authorities have set up as many as 15 shelters, especially in southeastern counties, ahead of Nicole’s expected impact.

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