Hurricane Nicole rare but not unprecedented

Hurricane Nicole, currently heading towards the Florida coast and set to make landfall today, is a rare yet not unprecedented event, according to RMS.

James Cosgrove, a senior modeler at RMS, suggests that the fourteenth named storm of the year, if verified by the National Hurricane Center, could be a rare event – a hurricane in November making landfall on Florida’s east coast.

Nicole is forecast to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane today (10 November) and could be only the second hurricane to make landfall along the east coast of Florida in the month of November since record keeping began, and only the second storm to make landfall in the US as a hurricane later than 8 November.

RMS noted that although Nicole is not comparable with the size and intensity of Hurricane Ian, it is a broad storm that is expected to bring some impacts to a large geographic area, with heavy rainfall, life-threatening storm surges, and large swells to the northwest of The Bahamas, Florida, and the southeast US.

Hurricane and/or storm surge warnings are in place from North Palm Beach in Florida to Georgetown, South Carolina, with Nicole expected to bring up to seven inches (175 millimeters) of rainfall across east, central, and north Florida. Some areas on the coast northeast of Orlando could receive up to 10 inches (255 millimeters) of rainfall, with up to four inches (100 millimeters) across southeast Georgia and into parts of South Carolina.

According to Cosgrove, should Nicole not attain hurricane intensity, and instead makes landfall as a strong tropical storm, it would still be the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall along the east coast of Florida this late in the calendar year.