Oct 12, 2016

Hurricane Warning in Bermuda as Category 2 Nicole Approaches

Bermuda
by
Bob Henson and Jeff Masters
,
Weather Underground
Visible satellite image of Hurricane Nicole as of 1437Z (10:37 am EDT) Wednesday, October 12, 2016. Bermuda is visible as the black speck at center top. Image: NASA/MSFC Earth Science Office
Visible satellite image of Hurricane Nicole as of 1437Z (10:37 am EDT) Wednesday, October 12, 2016. Bermuda is visible as the black speck at center top. Image: NASA/MSFC Earth Science Office

As of the 11 am EDT [Wednesday, October 12] advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Nicole’s top sustained winds were up to 100 mph, making it a Category 2 storm. Nicole was located 295 miles south-southwest of Bermuda and moving north at 7 mph, but it is expected to accelerate toward the north and northeast tonight and Thursday, bringing it over or very near the island around midday. A Hurricane Warning is in effect, with 3” - 6” of rain, hurricane-force winds, huge surf, and coastal flooding all possible.

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Nicole weakened from Category 2 to tropical storm strength over the weekend amid strong wind shear, but the shear had relaxed to less than 10 knots by Tuesday. The light shear and a modestly moist atmosphere (mid-level relative humidity around 50 - 55%) allowed for Nicole to regroup. The hurricane is also traveling over near-record-warm waters of around 28 - 29°C (82 - 84°F), which is about 1.5 - 2.0°C above average for mid-October. After it strafes Bermuda, Nicole will continue plowing into the North Atlantic, becoming a somewhat weaker but very large hurricane by Friday and Saturday before it transitions into a post-tropical cyclone.

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For being a small island in a big ocean, Bermuda has had an inordinate amount of bad luck with hurricanes over the past three years. Nicole is the fourth storm in the past three years to put the island under a Hurricane Warning. Last year, Hurricane Joaquin passed about 65 miles west-northwest of Bermuda on October 5 as a Category 2 storm. Joaquin brought sustained winds of tropical storm force to Bermuda, and caused power outages to 15,000 of the island’s 36,000 customers. Damage was minor, though.