Tropical Cyclone (15L) Nicole remains active…located about 10 miles east of Bermuda
Hurricane 15L (Nicole) is making a pass over Bermuda, as a category 3 storm!
This is the strongest hurricane strike on Bermuda since Fabian in 2003.
Category 3 Hurricane Nicole is impacting Bermuda, after going through a rapid intensification (RI), which saw the hurricane peak as a category 4 storm…with 130 mph winds early this morning.
The main threat from Nicole is wind damage, as the island has rarely experienced the winds from a category 3 hurricane.
Bermuda doesn’t often find hurricane’s making a impact, and it.s even more uncommon for a major hurricane to hit the island directly. In a survey going back to 1609, the Bermuda Weather Service found that tropical cyclone damage was recorded about once every 6 to 7 years. From 1900 to 2007, the only direct hits cited by the agency were the Havana-Bermuda Hurricane of 1926, the Miami Hurricane of 1948, and Hurricane Arlene of 1963.
According to Phil Klotzbach (Colorado State University), only one Category 4 hurricane is known to have tracked within 50 miles of Bermuda in records going back to 1851: Hurricane 5, on October 16, 1939.
Nicole will fall just short of reaching that milestone, as it was downgraded from category 4 to category 3 Thursday morning, while located about 55 miles southwest of Bermuda.
Hurricane Nicole is currently moving northeast at near 16 mph
Here’s the looping radar image from Bermuda
Wind Speed Graphic for Hurricane Nicole
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), southwesterly wind shear is beginning to affect Nicole. Microwave imagery and Bermuda radar indicate that the eye has lost some definition and become open to the south.
There is also a significant southwest to northeast tilt between the low-level center, as noted between the radar and satellite presentations of the eye, and the Air Force center fix that was located near the extreme western part of the eye seen in satellite imagery.
The Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft has not yet sampled the eastern portion of the eyewall, where the strongest winds were reported overnight.
Although the area of strongest winds in the eastern eyewall are expected to remain offshore of Bermuda, sustained hurricane-force winds have been reported on the island during the past couple of hours.
The official observing site at the airport has measured sustained winds of 67 knots, with a gust to 90 knots within the past hour. Increasingly southwesterly wind shear, and slightly lower sea surface temperatures along the forecast track of Nicole, should cause a gradual decrease in intensity during the next 24 to 36 hours.
After that time, global models keep Nicole an intense low pressure area over the north Atlantic through early next week.
Nicole has turned northeastward as expected. The hurricane will move northeastward with some acceleration in forward speed as it becomes embedded within southwesterly flow ahead of a mid-latitude trough. The trough is forecast to bypass Nicole in a couple of days, which is expected to cause the cyclone to slow down and meander well southeast of Newfoundland late in the forecast period.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WIND: Do not venture out in the eye. Although winds in eye are light, hurricane conditions will return soon after the eye passes and will continue through early afternoon. Tropical storm conditions will continue through this evening.
STORM SURGE: A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 6 to 8 feet above normal tide levels in Bermuda. The surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.
RAINFALL: Nicole is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 5 to 8 inches over Bermuda through this evening.
SURF: 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. Please refer to products being issued by your local weather office for more information.
Tropical Cyclone 15L (Nicole)