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Forecasters Say Tropical Storm Nicholas Could Come Ashore in Texas as Hurricane


Tropical Storm Nicholas is strengthening early Monday as it travels up the western Gulf Coast, Sept. 13, 2021. (Image Credit: NOAA)

The U.S. National Hurricane Center reports there is still a chance Tropical Storm Nicholas may reach hurricane strength before it comes ashore Monday night in south-central Texas.

The storm's main threat is heavy rain and storm surges throughout Texas, including the Houston area, which was drenched by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and Louisiana to the east.

In their latest report, hurricane center forecasters said Nicholas was about 60 kilometers (35 miles) south-southwest of Matagorda, Texas, with winds of about 110 kph (70 mph). It is moving north-northeast at 19 kph (12 mph) and is on track to come ashore late Monday night on the central Texas coast.

Nicholas will become a hurricane if its winds reach 119 kph (74 mph).

Houston, which is prone to flooding, was swamped by Harvey, which dropped 152 centimeters of rain (60 inches) on the city over four days. Nicholas is expected to bring 15-30 centimeters (6-12 inches) of rain, although 46 centimeters (18 inches) is possible in some areas.

"Listen to local weather alerts and heed local advisories about the right and safe thing to do, and you'll make it through this storm just like you've had many other storms," Texas Governor Greg Abbott said during a news conference in Houston.

Hurricane or not, Nicholas is likely to bring strong winds and flooding in both rural and urban areas. Warnings of life-threatening storm surges are in effect all along the Texas coastline. Surge warnings and watches extend north and east into Louisiana.

The forecasters say Nicholas is likely to weaken quickly once it comes ashore, but storm conditions are expected to persist for at least the next 48 hours.

Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press.