Subtropical storm Nicole shouldn’t hinder Florida voting

Weather

(NewsNation) — There’s a tropical storm headed for Florida, but it’ll still be far enough away come Election Day that voters won’t be affected, meteorologists and experts said Monday,

“Election Day, we’re not going to see major impacts early on but there will be a chance for moisture to come off the ocean,” NewsNation meteorologist Gerard Jebaily.

The National Weather Service has forecasts in the neighborhood of 83 degrees in Miami and 84 degrees in Port St. Lucie on Election Day. The area will see a 30 percent chance of rain.

And even that 30% chance of rain may be benign, as the Miami Herald reports showers aren’t expected till 8 p.m. — an hour after polls close.

Voter turnout in Florida’s midterms has been a concern for both parties following the National Hurricane Center’s announcement of a developing weather system that could potentially impact the state’s eastern coast — from the Volusia/Brevard County Line to Hallandale Beach.

Election officials in some Florida counties even urged people to vote early Sunday where possible to avoid run-ins with bad weather come Election Day.

It’s a concern that heightened early Monday, following The Hurricane Center’s announcement that the system had indeed evolved into a subtropical storm that was headed toward the state’s east coast with heavy rain and strong winds.

“While this storm does not, at this time, appear that it will become much stronger, I urge all Floridians to be prepared and to listen to announcements from local emergency management officials,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday while declaring a state of emergency for half of the state’s counties.

But while Tuesday’s forecast seems to be promising, it’s not indicative of the severity of the storm long-term. What’s now Subtropical Storm Nicole could very well evolve into a hurricane.

“Nicole is forecast to be a large storm, and regardless of its exact path, widespread impacts from a prolonged period of coastal flooding, tropical-storm-force winds, heavy rainfall, rough surf and rip currents, and beach erosion are likely along much of the Southeastern United States coast, the Florida East coast, and portions of the Northwestern and central Bahamas during much of the upcoming week,” the National Hurricane Center wrote Monday.

Additionally, much as was witnessed in Florida earlier this year with Hurricane Ian, the Hurricane Center predicts coastal flooding and storm surges. This time, the surges may be exacerbated by November’s new moon — when tidal ranges are naturally large. 

“A dangerous storm surge is possible across portions of the Northwestern Bahamas, much of the East coast of Florida, and portions of coastal Georgia,” the Hurricane Center wrote. “A storm surge watch has been issued for most of the East coast of Florida and portions of coastal Georgia.”

Then, of course, there’s the torrential rainfall, as the storm is expected to dump as much as six inches of rain on parts of central and northern Florida.

“Flash and urban flooding will be possible across portions of the Florida Peninsula along with river rises on portions of the St. Johns River,” the Hurricane Center wrote.

Election Day hurricanes are rare. As the Washington Post points out, there’s only been five landfalling November hurricanes since the mid-1850s.

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