Texas and Louisiana brace for Tropical Storm Nicholas’ heavy rains

Tropical Storm Nicholas strengthened as it neared the Gulf Coast Monday — threatening to bring heavy rains and potentially life-threatening flash-flooding to Texas, Mexico and the hurricane-devastated Louisiana.

Threat level: The storm could still intensify into a hurricane before landfall if it spends more time over water than currently forecast, as it approaches the middle of the Texas coast, per the National Hurricane Center.

1130 PM CDT Special Advisory: Hurricane Hunter aircraft and radar data indicate that the center of Tropical Storm #Nicholas has reformed farther north, and therefore a special advisory has been issued. More info: https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB pic.twitter.com/oskI5IN4aN

— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 13, 2021
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) tweeted late Sunday that he had declared a state of emergency in response to the forecast threat of “heavy rains and flash flooding to the state in the coming days.”Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) tweeted that the state began mobilizing resources on Saturday due to Nicholas’ threat of heavy rains, winds and the potential for flooding, adding: “Heed warnings from local officials and be sure to avoid high water.”

Our thought bubble, via Axios’ Andrew Freedman: This slow-moving storm poses a serious flood risk to coastal areas of Texas and, subsequently Louisiana —  which is still reeling from the deadly Hurricane Ida, which twice made landfall in the state last month.

Nicholas’ slow movement will allow copious amounts of Gulf moisture to flow inland.Studies show tropical storms and hurricanes are dropping more rain as the climate warms due to human activities.

State of play: The storm had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph as it moved some 70 miles southeast of the Rio Grande at 2.m. ET, per aNational Hurricane Center 2a.m. advisory.

What to watch: “On the forecast track, the center of Nicholas will pass near or just offshore the coasts of northeastern Mexico and south Texas this morning, and move onshore along the coast of south or central Texas Monday afternoon or evening,” the NHC said.

Hurricane watches, along with storm surge warnings and watches were issued for parts of Texas, including at the border with Mexico. A storm surge watch was also in effect for portions of Louisiana.Flash flooding was possible in parts of Texas and Louisiana through the middle of the week, with Nicholas forecast to bring 10-20 inches of rainfall, according to the NHC.

For the record: The storm formed earlier on Sunday in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.

Go deeper: Extreme summer weather’s climate change links

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with more details on the storm’s path and with comment from Abbott and Edwards.

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