While recent focus has been honed in on Hurricane Matthew’s track through the Caribbean and along the southeastern US coastline, Nicole has been nearly stationary east of Florida and south of Bermuda with some fluctuation in intensity from tropical storm to category 2 in the last five days.
Over the next 72 hours, Nicole is expected to regain hurricane strength and pass within close proximity to Bermuda as a borderline category 1-2 hurricane Thursday. Maximum sustained winds of 90-95 mph are currently forecast as Nicole passes closely by Bermuda, which is already under a hurricane watch.
Bermuda is no stranger to hurricanes, as 78 tropical systems of tropical storm strength or higher have passed within 50 miles of the island country since 1850. In terms of uncertainty of Nicole coming within 50 miles of Bermuda, the European ensemble weather model indicates a 65% likelihood of a direct hit. Compared to the NHC forecast track center, the European weather guidance is slightly west, a worse outcome which raises the prospects of Bermuda being in the most damaging right eyewall of the hurricane when it tracks by Bermuda.