Nicole Hit Like a Hurricane

By By Alex Sosnowski Expert Senior Meteorologist
October 02, 2010, 8:15:00 AM EDT

Ignore the official classification of Nicole as a "remnant low" or even a "tropical rainstorm," as the effects will be similar to that of a hurricane from eastern North Carolina to New England.

Nicole may have changed character. However, it showed signs of strengthening Thursday and may hit some areas from the Outer Banks to the barrier islands of New Jersey and Long Island with gusts near hurricane force spanning tonight and Friday.

Unfortunately, the rush to downgrade Nicole to a remnant low has lifted attention from the serious nature of the event, and may have placed lives and property unnecessarily in peril, since people tend to let their guard down once a named tropical storm or hurricane "disappear" from government agencies.

Impacts could be significant whether gusts are 40, 60 or 80 mph at various locations due to saturated ground and leafed foliage.

As Meteorologist Mark Mancuso pointed out, "The soggy ground and high winds will cause fully leafed trees to easily topple and soggy branches to fall, taking power lines with them."

As we warned about here at in recent days, conditions will be dangerous for travel in these areas tonight into Friday due to the potential number of downed trees and magnitude of flooding. Hurricane Expert Joe Bastardi has been very concerned about the dangers from Nicole.

A period of strong onshore winds will also lead to coastal flooding, especially at times of high tide, perhaps as far inland as the upper part of the Delaware and Chesapeake bays.

Pounding surf for a time will lead to beach erosion.

Tropical banding of the rain and thunderstorms could also trigger short-lived, rain-wrapped tornadoes in coastal areas from North Carolina to southern New England.

When people wake up Friday morning, they may be wondering what hit them.

Welcome to "Troptober."

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