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BLOG: Tropical Storm Nicholas

Nicholas to make landfall near Palacios
Nicholas currents.PNG
Posted at 9:22 AM, Sep 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 21:03:30-04

Monday, Sept 12 8:00 PM

Nicholas is a strong tropical storm with 70 mph winds, gusting to 75 and is getting ready to make landfall east of Palacios. Some additional strengthening is possible during the next few hours, and Nicholas could become a hurricane when it reaches the Texas coast. Weakening is anticipated on Tuesday and Wednesday while Nicholas moves over land.

For the Coastal Bend, our main impact from the storm will be the rough seas which will cause minor coastal flooding and a high rip current risk through Tuesday. Our rain is about done, with only a few light showers on the back side of the system early Monday night and diminishing northerly winds.

Heavy rain will continue for the central and upper Texas Coast as Nicholas moves inland and tracks to the northeast with storm total rainfall of 6 to 12 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 18 inches through Wednesday. Life-threatening flash flooding impacts, especially in highly urbanized metropolitan areas, are possible across portions of the upper Texas Gulf Coast and far southwestern Louisiana.

Monday, Sept 12 4 PM
-The Storm Surge Watch south of Port Aransas has been replaced with a Coastal Flood Advisory
-The Flash Flood Watch has been cancelled for the southern Coastal Bend
-Additional rainfall amounts of 2-3" possible across the Northern Coastal Bend

Nicholas is now moving north-northeast at 12 mph and has strengthened with 65 mph sustained winds, gusting to 75 mph. We have had wind gusts of 50 mph near Aransas Pass so far from this system and gusts up to 60 are possible for the next few hours.

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Showers will continue to rotate around the circulation as rain bands move in but heaviest, widespread rain is on the east side of the storm. The storm is forecast to move onshore near Palacios with highest rainfall amounts where it makes landfall and to the north and east. In the Coastal Bend, rainfall amounts through Monday night will be low, under an inch with highest totals northeast up the coast. On and off showers with heavy downpours will decrease through Monday night.

Monday, Sept 12 11:00 AM
Tropical Storm Nicholas is moving erratically northward and is off the south Texas Coast with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, gusting to 70 mph.

New this morning:
-Tropical Storm Warning has been cancelled for Jim Wells and Live Oak Counties.
-Storm Surge Watch has been cancelled for Kleberg County.
-Wave heights have increased to 15-20 feet over the nearshore, to 20-25 feet over the offshore waters.
-A Flood Warning is in effect for Oso Creek until further notice, expected to reach moderate flood stage, cresting near 21 ft this afternoon

Heavy rain with some flooding appears to be the primary impact through Tuesday, especially along the Coastal Bend and Victoria Crossroads. Rainfall totals could reach 4 to 8 inches with isolated amounts up to 10 inches. Flash flooding is possible. A few tornadoes cannot be ruled out, especially today.

Tropical storm strength winds of 55-65 mph, with gusts near 75 mph are expected over the northern Coastal Bend; tropical storm force winds of 45-55 mph, gusting near hurricane strength for the rest of the warned area.

Should the system strengthen into a hurricane, stronger winds would be expected in the current hurricane watch area. Coastal flooding is expected starting today with storm surge inundation of up to 2-4 feet across the Middle Texas Coast. There is also a HIGH risk of rip currents through Tuesday.

Monday, Sept 12 4:00 AM
An Air Force Reconnaissance Plane found Nicholas has strengthened and center has reformed significantly further north. It has also regained forward speed and is now moving north-northwest at 15 mph and has maximum sustained winds which have increased to near 60 mph
with higher gusts. Further strengthening is forecast until Nicholas reaches the northwest Gulf coast later today.

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Along this track, tropical storm winds will approach the middle Texas coast as early as Monday morning . Tropical Storm Nicholas is expected to be a strong tropical storm and could reach hurricane strength before making landfall. At this time, it is forecast to make landfall near Port O'Connor Monday night.

Greatest impacts to the Coastal Bend are expected from midday Monday through late Monday evening. Heavy rain and flooding are the main threats to the Coastal Bend with strong wind gusts up to 75 mph along the coast. Storm surge is expected to reach 2-4 feet.

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Sunday, Sept 12 4:30 PM
NEW: The Tropical Storm Warning has been expanded and now includes Kleberg, Nueces, San Patricio, Aransas, Refugio, Calhoun, Victoria, Goliad, Bee, Live Oak, and Jim Wells Counties, through Tuesday afternoon. The National Hurricane Center has issued a Hurricane Watch for Aransas, coastal Refugio, and Calhoun Counties, including the islands, through Tuesday afternoon. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warned area within 36 hours and hurricane force winds, 74 mph or greater, are possible somewhere in the watch area in the next 48 hours.

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Also, a Storm Surge Warning has been issued for Aransas, coastal Refugio, and Calhoun Counties, including the islands, through Tuesday morning. A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, somewhere within this area within the next 36 hours.

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Nicholas is forecast to bring the greatest impacts to the Coastal Bend from Monday evening through early Tuesday morning. Residents living on the island or along the coast will have greatest impacts with storm surge, wind and heavy rainfall. Inland areas will have a heavy rain threat with localized flooding but will miss the highest impacts from the storm as it is forecast to parallel the coastline. Heavy rain and flooding are possible with 4-8 inches of rain likely.

Forecast models show the system strengthening to a high end tropical storm but continue to keep it below hurricane strength. However, this could change as new data comes in.

Residents in the warned areas are urged to secure or bring inside any loose object outdoors and prepare for possible flooding.

Sunday, Sept 12 11:00 AM
Tropical Storm Nicholas formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico Sunday morning. Tropical Storm Warnings and Watches and Storm Surge Watches have been issued by the National Hurricane Center for the northeast Mexico and Texas coasts.

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The storm is forecast to track to the northwest then turn to the north, moving east and along the Texas coast through early next week and strengthen.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for coastal Kleberg, coastal Nueces, coastal San Patricio, Kleberg Islands and Nueces Islands. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warned area within 36 hours.

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for the entire coast of Texas. A Storm Surge Watch means life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, is possible within the next 48 hours.

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Tropical Storm Nicholas will gradually become more organized and strengthen over the next couple days as it moves north-northwest towards the Texas coast. On the forecast track, the center of Nicholas will pass just offshore of the coasts of northeastern Mexico and South Texas Monday afternoon, and approach the central Texas coast Monday night or early Tuesday. Residents of South Texas should continue to monitor the progress of this system and heed the advice of local officials.

Heavy rain with some flooding appears to be the primary impact through Tuesday, especially along the Coastal Bend and Victoria Crossroads. Additional impact details will become more clear with time as the system progresses across the southwestern and western Gulf of Mexico.

South Texas Impacts:
Winds: Tropical storm force winds of 50-60 mph, gusting to 75 mph (hurricane strength)
Rainfall: 4-8", isolated higher amounts, heaviest along the Coastal Bend and Victoria Crossroads
Storm Tides: 2-4' inundation
Rip Currents: MODERATE risk today, increasing to HIGH Monday and Tuesday

There continues to be some forecast uncertainty and a plan should be in place now.
- PLAN: Plan for hazardous wind of equivalent tropical storm force.
- PREPARE: Efforts to protect property should now be underway. Prepare for limited wind damage.
- ACT: Act now to complete preparations before the wind becomes hazardous.

Stay alert and keep informed with the latest updates here and on KZTV 10 and KRIS 6.

Saturday, Sept 11 7:30 PM
The National Hurricane Center now gives 94-L a 90% chance of development in the next 5 days. The system is forecast to become better organized and possibly a tropical depression Sunday or Monday while the disturbance moves northwestward, then northward near the coast of northeastern Mexico.

Additional development will be possible through the middle of next week if the system remains over water. An Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate
the system Sunday, if necessary.

By late Sunday, heavy rain is expected to reach portions of the Texas and Louisiana coasts with a heavy rain threat then continuing across those coasts through the middle of next week.
Localized significant rainfall amounts are possible, potentially resulting in areas of flash, urban, and isolated river flooding.

As of now, forecast models show it developing into a tropical storm but remaining below hurricane status. This is something we'll watch which could change. Due to the storm's path, close to the coast, if it strengthens this will give us little time to prepare. Please stay updated on the latest information.

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Saturday, Sept 11 9:30 AM

We are watching tropical wave Invest 94-L for possible development as it moves into the southern Gulf of Mexico this weekend then heads north through the western Gulf through early next week. The National Hurricane Center gives it an 80% chance of development in the next 5 days.

Although upper-level winds are not conducive for development currently, they are expected to become more favorable for the system during the next day or so. A tropical depression is likely to form on Sunday or Monday while the disturbance moves northwestward and then northward near the coast of northeastern Mexico. Further development will be possible through the middle of next week.

If a tropical storm develops over the western Gulf of Mexico, warnings could be issued for portions of the Middle Texas coast with little to no advanced notice. So it's best to monitor this system closely and be prepared if it should develop.

Minor coastal flooding and an increased threat for rip currents may also develop. Additional impacts are unclear at this time given uncertainty in the system's movement, strength and duration over the Gulf of Mexico. Please check back for updates.