Tropical Storm Nicholas Heading Toward Texas—Here’s What To Expect
Tropical Storm Nicholas formed Sunday as it approached the Gulf coast, the 14th named storm in a busier-than-usual hurricane season, which will potentially result in nearly a foot of rain in parts of Texas and Louisiana through the middle of the week and likely bring more rain to areas that were already affected by Hurricane Ida.
Tropical storm warnings and watches are in effect from the southern coast of Texas to the U.S.-Mexico border, and Nicholas currently has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph with gradual strengthening expected as the storm approaches land.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin closer to the Mexican border by Monday afternoon and higher up the Texas coast by late Monday or early Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) projects.
Coastal Texas and southwest Louisiana are projected to receive five to 10 inches of rain, with isolated totals of up to 15 inches, from Sunday through the middle of the week.
“Periods of heavy rainfall” and potential flooding are expected, and coastal areas could receive two to four feet of storm surge.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Sunday he has placed resources in the state on standby if needed in the aftermath of the storm, including water rescue boat squads, an emergency medical task force and resources regarding potential power outages.
Areas of eastern Louisiana that were hit by Hurricane Ida could receive several inches of rain, Yale Climate Connections meteorologist Bob Henson projected to the Associated Press, though they will not be in the storm’s direct path.
What To Watch For
On its current trajectory, the storm will move north through parts of eastern Texas and Louisiana through Friday. In addition to Nicholas, the NHC said it is also tracking three other “tropical disturbances” right now in the Atlantic Ocean that could potentially become depressions or storms.
“All of southern Louisiana—but especially southwest Louisiana—should keep a close eye on Tropical Storm Nicholas, which could bring heavy rains and flash flooding to the state in the next few days,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards tweeted Sunday. “Listen to local officials, monitor local news and stay prepared.”
Only four hurricane seasons since 1966 have hit 14 storms as fast as this year’s hurricane season, according to Colorado State University meteorologist Philip Klotzbach: in 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2020. CNN notes the 14th storm in a hurricane season typically doesn’t form until November 18 on average, and hurricane seasons typically only have that many storms in total. Climate change is believed to be exacerbating the frequency of these extreme weather events, as well as making hurricanes and other storms more severe.
Tropical Storm Nicholas approaches the Gulf coast as Louisiana is still recovering from Hurricane Ida, which battered parts of the state two weeks ago and left 26 people dead in Louisiana alone. More than 140,000 customers in the state were still without power as of Sunday morning, according to Louisiana Public Service Commission data cited by the AP, down from a peak of 1.2 million, and the storm brought significant devastation to the region.
Forecasters: Tropical Storm Nicholas forms in Gulf of Mexico (Associated Press)