RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Tropical Storm Nicole is near the Bahamas. As of midday Wednesday , the storm is located about 200 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida. Nicole is moving west-southwest at 12 mph, with sustained winds up to 70 mph.

Hurricane warnings are up for the northern Bahamas and parts of the east coast of Florida. Tropical storm warnings are on the west coast of central Florida and up the Atlantic coast from north Florida to near Charleston, South Carolina.

Nicole is expected to approach the Florida coast late tonight into early Thursday morning. Nicole is forecast to be a hurricane as it moves toward the Florida coast, then weaken to a tropical storm again as Nicole moves across Florida.

Nicole will move over Georgia Friday morning and transition ot a tropical depression then a non-tropical low as it moves over the North Carolina mountains on Friday afternoon.

North Carolina is expected to get heavy rains over the mountains on Friday with up to 4 inches of rain possible there. In central North Carolina, rainfall should average an inch with up to two inches possible.

There will be a slight risk of severe storms Friday afternoon and Friday evening over central North Carolina. An isolated tornado will be possible during that time.

Winds over central North Carolina could be in the 20 mph range with gusts in the 30s on Friday. Gale warnings are up along our coast and those strong winds along with high astronomical tides, could produce possible coastal flooding along with potential for beach erosion and high surf along the North Carolina coast according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.