Tropical Storm Nicholas to bring flash flooding to parts of Texas

Forecasters warn of up to 15 inches of rain in some places

Tropical Storm Nicholas is moving toward the Texas Gulf Coast on Monday, bringing the threat of significant flash flooding to parts of the state.

As of 7 a.m. Central, Nicholas had winds of 60 mph. It was centered about 210 miles south of Port O’Connor, Texas, and was moving west-northwest at 5 mph.

The entire Texas Gulf Coast and parts of Louisiana are under some type of weather alert because of Nicholas.

Here is a list of the latest weather alerts:

  • Hurricane watch from Port Aransas, Texas, to Freeport, Texas.
  • Tropical storm warning from the mouth of the Rio Grande to High Island, Texas.
  • Tropical storm watch from High Island, Texas, to Sabine Pass.
  • Storm surge warning from Port Aransas, Texas, to San Luis Pass.
  • Storm surge watch from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Port Aransas, Texas, and from San Luis Pass to Rutherford Beach, Louisiana.

The forecast calls for Nicholas to strengthen as it approaches the Texas Gulf Coast on Monday. It could become a minimal hurricane as it skirts the coastline before making landfall late Monday. The storm is expected to maintain tropical-storm strength as it moves inland through Tuesday. It is forecast to weaken to a depression by Wednesday morning as it moves north of Houston.

Flash flooding

While gusty winds will accompany Nicholas, the biggest threat from the storm, by far, is flash flooding.

Forecasters are warning of widespread rainfall totals of up to 10 inches across parts of southeast Texas, especially in the Houston area. Some places could see as much as 15 inches of rain.

The Weather Prediction Center has highlighted a rare high-risk area on its excessive rainfall outlook over the next three days, along the Texas coast southwest of Houston. In the Houston metro area over to Southwest Louisiana, there is a moderate risk of excessive rainfall.

More than 9 million people from south Texas to central Louisiana are under a flash flood watch from Monday through at least Tuesday night.

Storm surge

Another threat with Tropical Storm Nicholas is storm surge. The angle at which the storm is approaching the coastline creates a large area where water will be pushed ashore by the wind.

The biggest storm surge, of 3 to 5 feet, is forecast from Port O’Connor, Texas, to San Luis Pass. A surge of 2 to 4 feet is expected for the rest of the Texas coastline to Rutherford Beach, Louisiana. Up to 3 feet of surge is expected from Rutherford Beach to Intracoastal City in Louisiana.