Wet and windy weather today, colder and calmer this weekend

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB-TV) – Nicole made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 mph early this morning (2 a.m. CST / 3 a.m. EST) near Vero Beach, FL. Since then, the storm has weakened back to being a tropical storm. As of 6 a.m. CST, it had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and was moving west/northwest at 14 mph.

Tropical Storm Nicole will continue to move northwest, emerging in the northeast Gulf of Mexico throughout the day before curving northeast across Big Bend and across Georgia tomorrow .

The Forgotten Coast will be the first to see precipitation today, with scattered showers from the outer rainbands throughout the morning. The central panhandle counties will see rainfall approach midday throughout the afternoon and early evening. Most of the rain will clear to the north around midnight. A few lingering showers are possible early Friday morning as moisture envelopes the tropical depression. However, the rain will stop completely by 9 a.m. CST on Friday.

Total precipitation is expected to be lowest in the west and highest in the east. Walton County to the west will receive an inch of rain or less. Central counties west of the Apalachicola River will see 1 to 2 inches of rain. Areas east of the Apalachicola River to Big Bend will see 2 to 3 inches of rain.

Winds are expected to be sustained at 20-30 mph throughout the day, gusting up to 40-45 mph where a wind advisory is in effect (Central Panhandle Counties). Winds can blow up to 50 mph east of the Apalachicola River where a tropical storm warning is in effect.

The waters will be very rough and dangerous until Friday. A small craft advisory is in effect as seas will be 5 to 7 feet today. Strong winds will also create dangerous drag in the water along the beaches. It’s safest to stay out of the water until the winds die down, probably later this weekend.

On Friday, a cold front will approach northwest Florida from the west. This system will help keep Nicole away from our area. It will also bring another shot of cold air throughout the weekend. High temperatures will drop into the 60s on Saturday and possibly above the 50s on Sunday. Sunday morning lows will fall into the 30s inland, near zero Monday morning.

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