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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Nicole makes landfall, weakens to tropical storm with 60 mph winds

Nicole has weakened to a tropical storm after making landfall early on Thursday morning as a Category 1 hurricane.

As of 7 a.m. on Thursday, the storm is centered over central Florida, approximately 30 miles southwest of Orlando and around 55 miles east of Tampa, according to an update from the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical Storm Nicole November 10 2022 7 a.m. update from National Hurricane Center
Tropical Storm Nicole’s forecast track as of 7 a.m. on Thursday, November 10 (Image courtesy of the National Hurricane Center)

Nicole’s maximum sustained winds clocked in at 60 miles per hour with higher gusts. The storm is moving to the west-northwest at a speed of 14 mph.

The National Hurricane Center states that a turn toward the northwest and north-northwest is expected later today and tonight, followed by an acceleration to the north and north-northeast on Friday.

On the forecast track, the center of Nicole will move across central Florida this morning, possibly emerging over the far northeastern Gulf of Mexico this afternoon, and then it will move across the Florida Panhandle and Georgia this evening and on Friday.

Additional weakening is expected over the next day or two as the storm moves over land, and Nicole is expected to become a tropical depression over Georgia tonight or early on Friday morning.

Nicole is still a large tropical storm with tropical storm-force winds extending outward up to 450 miles from the center, especially to the north. Daytona Beach recently reported sustained winds of nearly 50 mph with a wind gust of 70 mph.

A few tornadoes will be possible on Thursday morning over parts of coastal east-central Florida and northeastern Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Marion County Emergency Management officials are encouraging all residents to sign up for the emergency notification system ‘Alert Marion.’ Those who sign up will receive text message alerts, emails, and phone calls regarding severe weather in the area.