Bahamas prepares to evacuate residents as Tropical Storm Nicole approaches

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Tropical Storm Nicole is forecast to be at or near hurricane intensity by Wednesday or Wednesday night while it is moving near or over the northwestern Bahamas.

NASSAU, Bahamas, CMC – A hurricane watch has gone into effect for northwestern Bahamas as subtropical storm, Nicole,  was moving towards the CARICOM country on Monday with no change in strength.

In a statement, Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper said, “Please do not take this storm lightly.”

“Nicole poses an imminent threat to the islands under the warning. Everyone must prepare for the worst,” he said.

The National Emergency Management Agency Director, Captain Stephen Russell, who is urging residents in vulnerable areas to leave their homes when called to do so, said an evacuation order will likely be issued for parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama later on Monday.

The islands in the northwest Bahamas including Grand Bahama, Abaco, Bimini, the Berry Islands, Eleuthera, New Providence and Andros have all been placed under a hurricane watch.

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The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that the storm, located about 465 miles, east of the northwesten Bahamas had maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour (mph)  moving towards the northwest near nine mph.

“A slower northwestward motion is expected later this afternoon through tonight. A turn toward the west or west-southwest is then forecast to begin by Tuesday night and that motion should continue through early Thursday,” the NHC said in its latest bulletin.

“On the forecast track, the center of Nicole will approach the northwestern Bahamas on Tuesday and Tuesday night, move near or over those islands on Wednesday, and approach the east coast of Florida Wednesday night,” it added.

The NHC is predicting high gusts and gradual strengthening is forecast during the next few days.

It said Nicole is forecast to be at or near hurricane intensity by Wednesday or Wednesday night while it is moving near or over the northwestern Bahamas.

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