Tropical Storm Nicholas forms over Gulf of Mexico, with Texas in its path
(CNN) Tropical Storm Nicholas, the Atlantic hurricane season’s 14th named storm, has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said.
The 14th named storm in the Atlantic basin typically doesn’t form until November 18 and an average season has this number of storms.
The storm had a high chance of forming over the past 24 hours and with the Hurricane Hunters flying into the storm Sunday morning, it was discovered that this disturbance is now a tropical storm.
A tropical storm warning is in effect from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Port Aransas in Texas. That means winds of at least 39 mph are expected within 36 hours.
Storm surge and tropical storm watches have also been issued, meaning dangerous life-threatening storm surge and tropical-storm-force winds are possible within 48 hours, respectively.
Tropical Storm Nicholas Forms in Western Gulf; Flooding Rainfall Threat Ahead For Texas, Louisiana
At a Glance Tropical Storm Nicholas has formed in the western Gulf of Mexico.
Nicholas will track near the western U.S. Gulf Coast through midweek.
Heavy rain and flash flooding are a concern in parts of Texas and Louisiana. Tropical Storm Nicholas has formed in the western Gulf of Mexico, and it’s likely to track toward the Texas and Louisiana coasts with threats of flooding rainfall, strong wind gusts and storm surge through midweek.
Nicholas is centered 405 miles south-southeast of the border between Texas and Mexico. It’s helping to produce widespread showers and thunderstorms throughout a broad area of the western Gulf of Mexico right now. Some bands of rain associated with Nicholas have already spread to near the Texas and Louisiana coasts.
Current Radar, Watches and Warnings
Tropical storm warnings have been issued along the coast of Texas from Port Aransas to the Mouth of the Rio Grande. This means tropical-storm-force winds (39+ mph) are expected in these areas by Monday afternoon.
A tropical storm watch is also in effect on the Texas coast from north of Port Aransas to High Island. These areas could see tropical-storm-force winds by late Monday night or early Tuesday.
Watches and Warnings (A watch is issued when tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours. A warning is issued when those conditions are expected within 36 hours. )
The National Hurricane Center expects Nicholas to track north and then northeast near or just off the coasts of northeast Mexico and Texas through early this week, as depicted by the forecast path in the map below.
Nicholas should be at least at moderate tropical storm strength as it makes this general trek.
Landfall could happen early in the workweek, especially if Nicholas tracks on the left side of the forecast path into Texas. However, it’s important to note that impacts, especially heavy rain, will arrive well in advance of any landfall.
Projected Path, Intensity Forecast (The red-shaded area denotes the potential path of the center of the tropical cyclone. It’s important to note that impacts (particularly heavy rain, high surf, coastal flooding, winds) with any tropical cyclone usually spread beyond its forecast path. )
The potential for flooding rainfall will be the most widespread impact from Nicholas, regardless of how much it strengthens.
Bands of locally heavy rain are beginning to wrap ashore into the Texas and Louisiana coasts as a surge of deep moisture arrives. That wet pattern might last for several days through at least the first half of this week.
Heavier rain will also become more concentrated near and east of where the center of Nicholas tracks along the western U.S. Gulf Coast.
Advertisement Therefore, we expect a threat for flash flooding near the Gulf Coast from Texas to southwest Louisiana through the first half of the week ahead. Nicholas could produce 5 to 10 inches (locally up to 15 inches) of rain from portions of coastal Texas into southwest Louisiana, according to the National Hurricane Center.
At least some bands of heavier rain might also swing inland over southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi – areas still recovering from Hurricane Ida.
Rainfall Forecast (This should be interpreted as a broad outlook of where the heaviest rain may fall and may shift based on the forecast path of the tropical system. Higher amounts may occur where bands of rain stall over a period of a few hours. )
Flash flood watches have been issued by the National Weather Service for this threat of flooding rain, from southwest Louisiana to all of coastal Texas. This includes Houston and Corpus Christi in Texas and Lake Charles in Louisiana.
Flood Alerts (From the National Weather Service.)
Nicholas could produce tropical-storm-force winds within the warning and watch areas along the Texas coast early this week.
Stronger wind gusts might cause some tree damage and scattered power outages in spots. The winds could also down some trees, especially where soils become saturated from Nicholas’ heavy rain.
Onshore winds are also likely to lead to dangerous rip currents and at least some coastal flooding along parts of the Texas and southwestern Louisiana coasts.
A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels is predicted along the Texas coast from the Mouth of the Rio Grande to High Island if the peak surge arrives at the time of high tide. This includes Baffin Bay, Corpus Christi Bay, Aransas Bay, San Antonio Bay, Matagorda Bay and Galveston Bay.
Check back frequently for the latest on this situation as it develops.
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Tropical Storm Nicholas forms, poses flood threat to coastal Texas and Louisiana
Forecasters are also monitoring other areas of disturbed weather in the tropical Atlantic. North of the Bahamas, a disturbance has a 50-50 shot of turning into a tropical depression or storm as it moves north offshore of the East Coast, according to the Hurricane Center. It will probably slip far enough east to keep its swath of heavy rainfall offshore.