Hurricane Nigel has “likely reached its peak intensity,” National Hurricane Center forecasters said Wednesday, as attention turns to a system off Africa that is likely to become a tropical depression late this week or weekend.
Forecasters also have their eyes on a low that may form off Florida’s east coast and cause heavy rainfall and flooding this week in South Florida before moving north.
Nigel was holding steady as a Category 2 hurricane early Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph.
As of 5 a.m. Wednesday, Nigel was about 590 miles east-northeast of Bermuda, moving northwest at 16 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from Nigel’s center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles.
Swells from the storm will affect Bermuda for the next few days, causing potentially dangerous surf and rip currents.
Nigel currently poses no threat to land and could begin gradually weakening Thursday and be a post-tropical cyclone by Friday, forecasters said.
In addition to Nigel, forecasters also are monitoring a non-tropical area of low pressure that is forecast to form east of Florida late this week. Non-tropical means the mechanics of the system are more like what we’d expect in winter.
As a result of the offshore low, South Florida will be increasingly stormy as the week continues, said National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Garcia on Tuesday. Once the low moves north, there could be a drying trend for the weekend.
“The big thing we’ll need to watch through the week is a chance of heavy rainfall and maybe even flooding, and strong wind gusts from the thunderstorms that could develop,” Garcia said. Flooding could occur through Friday, he said.
The National Weather Service forecasts hazardous marine conditions off Palm Beach and Broward counties on Friday, and extending to Miami Dade County waters on Saturday. Those conditions include sustained winds of 20 to 33 knots and seas equal or greater than 7 feet. These are considered hazardous conditions for small craft.
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