Nicole formed near the Bahamas on Monday. Hurricane, Tropical Storm and Storm Surge Watches have been issued along the east coast of the Florida Peninsula.
In addition to the high winds that are normally associated with a landfalling tropical system, the FOX Forecast Center expects those gusty winds to push feet of water from the Atlantic Ocean onshore. A storm surge of up to 5 feet is possible closest to where Nicole hits, but a surge of 2 to 4 feet is possible up and down the eastern coast.
Heavy rains that will likely lead to flooding are also forecast. As much as 5 inches of rain is expected along the immediate coast, with up to 3 inches of rain likely in central portions of the Florida Peninsula.
Seminole County began passing out sandbags Monday, according to FOX 35 Orlando. Alan Harris, the county's emergency manager, asked people to prepare.
"We're going to prepare for the worst and hope for the best," Harris said. "If you just started to dry out, and some homes just did, then putting sandbags around your sliding glass doors, your front doors. We aren’t talking about another Ian … but we are talking about some pretty decent rain."
It's a race against time for many residents in Geneva, who are trying to clear debris from in front of their homes before Nicole hits.
"Of course, it’s concerning," said Bob Boulanger, whose home was flooded during Hurricane Ian. His family has been living in a trailer since Ian hit. "I haven’t gotten rid of the trash. Lots of projectiles if I don’t finish."
Lake Harney, behind Boulanger's home, is still flooded from the tremendous rain that Ian dumped on Central Florida.
"Obviously, the waves, I’m nervous about what they do when they hit the walls, the roof, the ceiling," Boulanger said.
Analysts said they believe Ian will rank among the top-10 costliest storms to have hit the U.S. with up to $57 billion in losses.