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Florida’s east coast under hurricane watch as it braces for Subtropical Storm Nicole’s impact

The storm is expected to bring rain and strong winds to the northwestern Bahamas on Tuesday before moving to Florida's east coast by Wednesday night.

Florida's east coast was under a hurricane watch Monday as Subtropical Storm Nicole moved in its direction with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

The storm was about 415 miles east-northeast of the northwestern Bahamas at 10 p.m. Monday and moving northwest at 8 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. It had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

A subtropical storm is a cyclone where maximum sustained surface wind speed is 39 mph or more, according to the National Hurricane Center.

According to the forecast, Nicole will strengthen over the next few days and be near or at hurricane intensity by Wednesday as it approaches Florida.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday declared a state of emergency for 34 counties that are in the path of the storm, including Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Orange and Sarasota counties.

“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,” he said. “We will continue to monitor the trajectory and strength of this storm as it moves towards Florida.”

Nicole's center will reach the northwestern Bahamas on Tuesday and move near or over those islands Wednesday before heading to Florida.

The impacts of the storm include strong wind gusts and 2 to 6 inches of rain in both Florida and the Bahamas by mid-to-late week. Storm surge of 3 to 5 feet is also possible for the Bahamas.

While there's no existing forecast for storm surge in Florida, mid-November has some of the highest king tides of the year for areas like Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale, which can exacerbate coastal flooding.

Nicole is expected to be extremely large in size and lopsided, meaning the storm's impact could be felt hundreds of miles away from the center.

A hurricane watch has been issued for Florida's east coast along Volusia and Brevard counties all the way south to Hallandale Beach near Miami, according to the National Hurricane Center. Lake Okeechobee, an inland lake in the southeast of the state, is also under hurricane watch.

A storm surge warning was issued for most of Florida’s eastern coast, from North Palm Beach north, and into Georgia to the Altamaha Sound. The St. Johns River in Florida was also under a storm surge warning down to Georgetown.

A tropical storm watch for the northwestern Bahamas was upgraded to a hurricane watch Monday.

Since 1980, six tropical cyclones, four tropical storms and two tropical depressions have struck the Florida Peninsula in November, all initially from the south or west.

Only one hurricane on record has struck the Florida Peninsula in November, the so-called 1935 Yankee Hurricane, which made landfall near present-day Bal Harbour on Nov. 4 with 100 mph sustained winds.

Hurricane Kate hit Florida's panhandle on Nov. 21, 1985, as a Category 2 storm.

In September, Hurricane Ian struck Florida's southwest coast as a Category 4, killing at least 130 people as of Nov. 1 in the state. The entire peninsula saw storm surge, strong winds and flooding.

CORRECTION (Nov. 10, 2022, 12:09 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the death toll from Hurricane Ian. It was at least 130 people, not 140.