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What is a Subtropical Storm?


Subtropical Storm Nicole targets Florida and the East Coast this week, but what exactly is a subtropical storm?

Key Highlights

Subtropical storms are cold-core systems.

Subtropical systems have less rain, a larger wind field, and are less symmetrical.

AccuWeather For Business customers will be better prepared and safer with AccuWeather's AssetReport™, precise forecasts, and Superior Accuracy™.


AccuWeather meteorologists are keeping a close eye on Subtropical Storm Nicole, which is making its way to battered Florida before heading up the East Coast. When a tropical storm moves into cooler water, it becomes a cold-core system. When that happens, a tropical storm can transition into a subtropical storm. These storms have characteristics of tropical storms. Most of the storm's energy comes from the clash of cold and warm air; however, the cyclone does not have fronts and is cold-core in the upper levels of the atmosphere. Also, like tropical storms, a subtropical storm has a well-defined center and close circulation. Subtropical storms typically produce less rain than tropical storms. Subtropical systems have a larger wind field and are less symmetrical too.



A subtropical storm can gain strength, but it will need to transform into a warm-core system before becoming a tropical storm or a hurricane. 

AccuWeather meteorologists are closely monitoring Nicole and believe the storm could reach hurricane strength before reaching the east coast of Florida early Thursday morning. The storm will then be picked up by a cold front and move northward along the East Coast.

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Businesses in Florida and surrounding states will need to keep a close eye on this storm as it approaches and should: 

  • Determine hazards your location is most vulnerable to during a hurricane
  • Perform a vulnerability assessment of all equipment, processes, and operations
  • Winds and flying debris will cut power, which may not be restored immediately
  • Stay away from floodwaters

During Hurricane Ian, AccuWeather For Business customers with AssetReport™ were able to use our superior hurricane forecast track to automatically identify company assets at risk and see what storm surge, wind, and rainfall were expected over a specific timeframe. AccuWeather's sources allowed clients to be better prepared, with access to our world-class meteorologists 24/7 during the storm. 

Be sure to prepare your business for one before an imminent hurricane or tropical storm. The message is clear: Start planning now. AccuWeather for business has several tools to help you prepare for tropical storms and hurricanes.

Partner with us to weather the storm. 

Prepare your business for tropical impacts.