RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Tropical Storm Nicole has grown to near hurricane strength late Tuesday night. Winds are now up to 70 mph and it only needs winds near 75 mph to become a hurricane. The storm is around 350 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida
Hurricane warnings are up for the northern Bahamas and the east coast of Florida, with Storm Surge Warnings in place from West Palm Beach up into parts of the Georgia coast.
If Nicole becomes a hurricane, it will be the third hurricane to form this month.
Nicole moving west-southwest at 10 miles per hour, and on this track, the center of the storm will approach the northwestern Bahamas overnight into Wednesday morning, then the east coast of Florida, potentially has a Category 1 hurricane very early Thursday morning.
Heavy rain is expected over portions of Florida and the southeast by mid to late week.
North Carolina is expected to get heavy rain Thursday night through Friday night with 1-2 inches of rainfall expected. With a slight shift to the west in Nicole’s track, the mountains and western North Carolina look to get the most rain, up to 4 inches.
In addition to periods of heavy rain, expect gusty winds up to 30 miles per hour.