Tropical Storm Nicholas was the fourteenth named storm of the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season. Nicholas formed on October 13 in the eastern Atlantic Ocean from a tropical wave. Nicholas moved northwest, west, northwest, north, and then preformed a large cyclonic loop over the Atlantic Ocean. Nicholas dissipated on November 1. The remnants of Nicholas moved across Florida and ultimately dissipated over the Gulf Coast of the United States on November 5.

Nicholas caused no damage and no deaths.

Nicholas near peak intensity
FormationOctober 13, 2003
Dissipation November 1, 2003
Highest winds 70 mph
Lowest pressure 990 mbar
Deaths None reported
Damages None
Areas affectedFlorida, Gulf Coast of the United States
Part of the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season

Meteorological History

Nicholas developed from a tropical wave that moved westward from the coast of Africa on 9 October. A broad low pressure area formed along the wave on 10 October, and convection slowly became better organized during the following two days. It is estimated that a tropical depression formed near 0000 UTC 13 October about 790 n mi west-southwest of the southern Cape Verde Islands.

The cyclone formed in an area of southerly to southwesterly vertical wind shear, and it would remain in such an environment through its lifetime. The system moved slowly west-northwestward and gradually strengthened, becoming Tropical Storm Nicholas late on 14 October. It then moved northwestward for the next three days, reaching a peak intensity of 70 mph on 17 October. A slow and erratic northward motion occurred from 18-20 October while Nicholas gradually weakened due to the shear. The storm turned west-northwestward later on 20 October and westward on 21 October. This was accompanied by slight re-intensification. Nicholas again turned northwestward on 22 October and weakening resumed. The cyclone became a depression on 23 October as it turned northward, and it became a non-convective remnant low on 24 October. The low merged with a cold front later that day, becoming extratropical about 505 n mi east-southeast of Bermuda.

The post-tropical cyclone history of Nicholas is complex. After becoming extratropical, the remnant low made a large anticyclonic loop from 24-28 October. A subsequent west-northwestward to westward motion on 28-29 October occurred while Nicholas moved along the warm front associated with a non-tropical low to its southwest. A second anticyclonic loop took place on 29-31 October, which was followed by a small cyclonic loop early on 1 November while the Nicholas low separated from the frontal system. The Nicholas remnant was finally absorbed into a non-tropical low pressure area late that day about 300 n mi south-southwest of Bermuda. This low, which developed sporadic bursts of central convection, moved westward to the Florida Peninsula on 3 November and then northwestward to the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico on 5 November.


Nicholas's remnants over Florida.


Residents in the Lesser Antilles monitored the progress of Nicholas because of uncertainty in computer models. Since the cyclone turned northward away from the islands, no impact was felt in the Lesser Antilles.

Great stuff, you hepled me out so much! Great stuff, you hepled me out so much!


If Nicholas would've reached hurricane status, it would have been one of only one of eight tropical cyclones to reach hurricane status in the deep tropics during the month of October since 1900. Also, Nicholas had the second largest ACE index out of any Atlantic storm that did not become a hurricane, with the highest ACE of a storm that never attained hurricane status being held by Tropical Storm Laura of 1971, which had an ACE of 8.61. Nicholas had an ACE of 7.25. 2003 was the first time that the name Nicholas had been used to name a storm in the Atlantic. It was also the 8th time the letter "N" had been used on a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic, and 2003 was the fourteenth Atlantic hurricane season to have 14 or more named storms. Operationally, the National Hurricane Center determined if the non-tropical low that absorbed Nicholas became a subtropical cyclone or tropical cyclone, it would've been named Odette. In post-season analysis, the NHC considered classifying the aforementioned non-tropical low as an unnumbered tropical depression, though the lack of sufficient tropical characteristics prevented them from classifying it.

Lack of Retirement

Because of the lack of damage, the name Nicholas was not retired in the Spring of 2004 by the World Meteorological Organization. It is on the list of names to be used in the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

2003 Atlantic hurricane season


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