September 29, 2010

Window for Birth of Tropical Storm Nicole Briefly Open

A brief window of opportunity for Tropical Depression 16 to strengthen into Tropical Storm Nicole has opened today.

Tropical Depression 16 has a chance to strengthen now that its center has departed Cuba and emerged over the warm waters of the Florida Straits.

The environment will also turn more conducive for the depression to intensify today as wind shear (strong winds high in the atmosphere) becomes less disruptive.

The Hurricane Center has the latest statistics on Tropical Depression 16, including its strength and location.

The window of opportunity for strengthening will not remain open long. The window will begin to close later today as the depression clips southeastern Florida, including Miami.

The window will totally close tonight as the depression enters an area of increasing wind shear offshore of the Southeast coast. The depression will then lose its tropical characteristics on Thursday, potentially before moving into the Carolinas.

Despite not intensifying into a strong tropical storm or hurricane, the depression still poses a danger to residents and visitors along the East Coast.

Widespread flooding rain will prove to be the greatest threat associated with the depression, even after it loses its tropical characteristics.

Coastal communities, however, will endure more than the depression's torrential rain. Pounding surf and gusty onshore winds of up to minimal tropical storm force will develop from south to north along the East Coast into Thursday night, potentially leading to coastal flooding.

The twisting motion created by Tropical Depression 16 could also cause an isolated tornado or two to touch down in South Florida today.

The tornado danger will shift to the coasts of the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia tonight into early Thursday.

By Kristina Pydynowski, Senior Meteorologist –

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