Tropical Storm Nicole intensifies to Category 1 hurricane after hitting Bahamas

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Massive Hurricane Nicole is dumping rain In Florida, the storm swept across the Sunshine State’s east coast Wednesday night, potentially bringing damaging winds and heavy rainfall to some places still recovering from Hurricane Ian.

Earlier, the storm hit the Bahamas while intensifying from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane.

Nicole’s Eye is expected to make landfall on the Florida coast late Wednesday or early Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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Nicole is becoming the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States in November in nearly 40 years.

Here are the latest developments:

• Nicole had sustained winds of up to 75 mph after passing through the Bahamas.

• The Hurricane Center said tropical storm strong winds extended 485 miles from Nicole’s center. The massive wind field — wider than Ian’s stronger in Florida — means nearly the entire state will feel winds of 39 mph or higher from Nicole.

• More than 5.3 million people are under hurricane warning and 4.1 million people are under hurricane watch.

• The distance from the northwest Bahamas to eastern, central and northern Florida may be approximately 3 to 8 inches. About 2 to 6 inches is expected by Friday from parts of the southeastern U.S. to the southern and central Appalachians and parts of the western mid-Atlantic, the hurricane center said.

• In the northwest Bahamas, coastal water levels may be 6 feet above normal, and may rise 5 feet from North Palm Beach, Florida, to Altamaha Sound, Georgia. Swells of up to 4 feet are possible in the southern and northern parts of the range, including parts of the South Carolina coast.

• Evacuation ordered. In some cases, authorities said the buildings were unsafe, as 22 homes in Volusia County and some apartment buildings in New Smyrna Beach were considered safe.

• St. The St. Johns River flooded in some areas after Hurricane Ian, approaching major flooding stages near Astor and moderate flooding near Deland.

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