(NEW ORLEANS) — Tropical Storm Nicholas has set a course toward the Gulf Coast and is expected to bring drenching rains to some regions still recovering from Hurricane Ida.
The system strengthened from a tropical depression late Sunday morning in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, currently carrying maximum sustained winds up to 40 mph and moving north-northwest at 15 mph. The center of the storm is currently about 300 miles south-southeast from the mouth of the Rio Grande River.
Nicholas is expected to become better organized and strengthen as it closes in on the southern Texas coast in the next 24 to 36 hours. Landfall is expected late Monday into early Tuesday morning, but the impact will begin hours earlier.
The tropical moisture from the storm is already triggering scattered showers and thunderstorms along the western Gulf Coast Sunday afternoon. Flash flooding along the coast is possible in the next to 12 to 24 hours, and on Monday morning, the center of the storm will be off the northeast coast of Mexico.
A tropical storm warning is in effect from the Rio Grande River to Port Aransas, Texas, including cities such as Corpus Christi and South Padre Island. A tropical storm watch is in effect from Port Aransas along the Texas coast to High Island, which includes Galveston and Victoria.
Nicholas is the 14th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which is currently at its peak, with five tropical disturbances being monitored across the Atlantic basin.
The outer bands of Nicholas could potentially affect some regions along the Louisiana coast that were devastated by Hurricane Ida last month, such as New Orleans.
Flash flood watches are now in effect from Brownsville, Texas, to Lake Charles, Louisiana. A storm surge watch has been issued along parts of the Texas coastline as well, with surges between 2 and 4 feet expected.
Nicholas is expected to weaken on Tuesday but will also slow down, which could increase the risk of flash flooding. While the winds will die down, the heavy rain will continue and crawl over east Texas through the middle of the week.
The primary widespread hazard from Nicholas will be the heavy rain and flash flood threats. Rounds of heavy rain will slam much of the Texas and Louisiana coast over the next few days.
Between 6 and 10 inches of rain is forecast for Galveston, Texas, and Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Houston metro area could see between 2 to 4 inches, which higher amounts closer to the coast. South of Lake Charles, 10 to 15 inches is possible.
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