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Hurricane Nicole Strengthens in Western Atlantic

While all eyes are on Hurricane Matthew as it tracks near the Florida coastline, another hurricane is quietly but quickly strengthening to its east.

Hurricane Nicole strengthened to maximum sustained winds of 105 miles-per-hour (MPH) on Thursday night, pushing it to the brink of Category 3, or ‘major’ hurricane status on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Nicole is now the third-strongest hurricane in the busy 2016 Atlantic basin hurricane season, and it could become a Category 3 before a gradual weakening process is expected to begin later Friday and through the weekend as it slowly drifts in the open waters of the western Atlantic Ocean.

Interestingly, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted in its Thursday night discussion that Nicole and Matthew are the first co-existing Category 2 or greater hurricanes in the western Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea since 1964.

While Nicole’s forecast path doesn’t come close to interacting with any land masses, it could push Hurricane Matthew’s track back closer to shore as the two storms interact over the next few days. A so-called ‘Fujiwara Effect’ may allow the two systems to spin around each other and cause Matthew to come back closer to the southeast United States early or mid next week, although it’s still far out for a forecast along those lines. Continue to watch WeatherNation for the latest forecast and any possibility of Nicole’s influence on Matthew’s future track.

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Stay with WeatherNation for the latest on Nicole, Matthew and the tropics.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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