Hurricane Nicole formed while making landfall in Grand Bahama Island Wednesday evening as it makes its way toward Florida, according to reports from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft.
“Recent observations from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that Nicole has strengthened into a hurricane,” said the NHC.
The former tropical storm strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane at 6 p.m.
In its latest advisory, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Hurricane Nicole is located about 105 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida, and has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. Its minimum central pressure is 980 MB.
Nicole’s path had shifted slightly southward overnight into Wednesday.
However, forecasters say that tropical-storm-force winds will extend hundreds of miles from the center of circulation of the storm.
No matter where Nicole makes landfall, the storm will bring hurricane conditions to many Central Florida beaches, and hurricane gusts to areas inland.
Nicole continues to track westward at 12 mph toward Florida’s east coast with an expected landfall after midnight.
Hurricane conditions are expected across portions of the coast of southeast and east-central Florida beginning this evening or tonight, where a Hurricane Warning is in effect.
Tropical storm conditions will continue along the east coast of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina within the warning areas into Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin along the west coast of Florida within the warning area this evening or tonight.