Hurricane "Nicole" set for Bermuda: Hazardous conditions and severe weather expected

Hurricane

Hurricane "Nicole", currently a Category 2 system, is heading toward Bermuda and is expected to pass over the island early October 13, 2016. The Bermuda Weather Service has placed a hurricane warning into effect, alerting the residents to expect hazardous conditions, intense winds and thunderstorms, dangerous surf and rip currents, very rough seas and high swells, ahead of the system's approach.

Nicole formed as a tropical storm on October 4, about 800 km (500 miles) northeast of Puerto Rico and strengthened into a hurricane by October 6. The system peaked as a Category 2 hurricane, with 168.9 km/h (105 mph) winds, a few hours later, at which time the neighboring Hurricane "Matthew" reported winds reaching 193 km/h (120 mph). According to Joe Munchak, a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, the date marked the latest in the calendar year that two storms in the North Atlantic Ocean had winds over 168.9 km/h (105 mph) at the same time.

Hurricane "Nicole" eyeing Bermuda, October 11, 2016. Image credit: NASA Aqua/MODIS

Hurricane "Nicole" was located about 535 km south-southwest of Bermuda and moving north-northwest at 11 km/h (7 mph) on October 12 at 09:00 UTC, according to the NHC. The system was packing maximum sustained winds of 155 km/h (100 mph) with gusts up to 194.5 km/h (120.8 mph). Nicole's estimated central pressure was 970 hPa.

Winds of hurricane force extend up to 45 km (30 miles) away from the center while the tropical storm force winds reach up to 185 km (115 miles) outward.

Hurricane Nicole approaching Bermuda, October 12, 2016,10:45 UTC. Image credit: UW-CIMSS

Hurricane "Nicole" approaching Bermuda, October 12, 2016,10:45 UTC. Image credit: UW-CIMSS

Hurricane Nicole approaching Bermuda, October 12, 2016,10:45 UTC. Image credit: UW-CIMSS

Hurricane Nicole approaching Bermuda, October 12, 2016,10:45 UTC. Image credit: UW-CIMSS

An increase in the forward speed of the system with a turn toward the north-northeast is expected on October 13 when the hurricane's core will near Bermuda. Nicole has been forecast to strengthen over the 36 hours and may become near major hurricane by later today.

According to NHC, hurricane conditions will begin on Bermuda on the morning of October 13, and tropical storm conditions are expected by later today or tonight. The forecast warns about a dangerous storm surge, accompanied by large and destructive waves, expected to produce coastal flooding on the island. 

Hurricane Nicole 3-day moving track forecast. Image credit: NOAA/NWS/NHC

Hurricane "Nicole" 3-day moving track forecast. Image credit: NOAA/NWS/NHC

Tropical Storm Force Wind Speed Probabilities from October 12 to October 17, 2016. Image credit: NOAA/NWS/NHC

Hurricane "Nicole" 5-day wind speed probabilities distribution. Image credit: NOAA/NWS/NHC

Hurricane "Nicole" is expected to produce total rainfall accumulation between 101.6 and 203.2 mm (4 and 8 inches) over Bermuda through October 13. Swells associated with the system will likely affect the island over the next couple of days and are expected to induce dangerous surf conditions and rip currents.

A hurricane warning has been put in effect by the Bermuda Weather Service: "Hurricane "Nicole" is forecast to pass overhead early Thursday as a strong Category 2 hurricane. Ahead of Nicole's approach expect hazardous conditions, including strong winds, heavy rain, thunderstorms, dangerous surf & rip currents, and very rough seas & swells building high to very high."

Update
12:25 UTC, October 13, 2016

At 12:00 UTC on October 13, the center of Category 3 Hurricane "Nicole" was located 85 km (55 miles) SSW of Bermuda. Nicole's maximum sustained winds were 205 km/h (125 mph). The hurricane was heading NNE at 24 km/h (15 mph) with minimum estimated pressure of 953 hPa.

On the forecast track, the core of Nicole will pass near Bermuda within a couple of hours. Although a gradual weakening is forecast, Nicole is expected to remain a major hurricane when it moves near Bermuda.

Hurricane Nicole forecast track October 13, 2016

Hurricane "Nicole" forecast track October 13, 2016. Credit: NWS/NHC

Nicole is a large tropical cyclone. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 100 km (65 miles) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 280 km (175 miles).

Hurricane conditions are expected to begin on Bermuda very soon. Tropical storm conditions are already occurring on the island.

A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 1.8 to 2.4 m (6 to 8 feet) above normal tide levels in Bermuda and will be accompanied by large and destructive waves, NHC warns.

Nicole is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 127 and 203.2 mm (5 to 8 inches) over Bermuda through this evening.

Swells associated with Nicole will affect Bermuda during the next few days, and will spread northward along the United States east coast from the Carolinas northward through the next few days.

These swells will create dangerous surf conditions and rip currents.

Isolated tornadoes are possible on Bermuda today.

Update
14:48 UTC

Featured image: Hurricane "Nicole" eyeing Bermuda, October 12, 2016. Image credit: NOAA/GOES-East

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