Monitoring Nicholas: Tropical Storm Watch issued for parts of the Brazos Valley

The fourteenth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic season formed Sunday morning.
Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 9:24 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2021 at 11:40 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - After forming near the Bay of Campeche Gulf Sunday morning, eyes are on Tropical Storm Nicholas as it begins to trek through the western Gulf. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH has been issued for Austin and Waller counties until further notice.

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for parts of Austin and Waller counties.
A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for parts of Austin and Waller counties.(KBTX)

As of a special 11:30pm update from the National Hurricane Center, the center of Nicholas has re-formed about 150 nautical miles to the north-northwest of the previously assumed center. Because of this, forecasters at the NHC note that the forecast track has been accelerated to indicate a potential landfall ~ 12 hours earlier than what was previously forecasted.

11:30pm Advisory from the National Hurricane Center
11:30pm Advisory from the National Hurricane Center(KBTX)

Latest details regarding Nicholas:

LocationMaximum Sustained WindsMovementMinimum Central Pressure
~ 260 miles SSE of the Mouth of the Rio Grande40 mphN at 21007 mb

The latest forecast cone issued by the NHC still shifts the center forecast path for Nicholas slightly farther south than what was forecasted earlier Sunday, bringing the center of circulation somewhere between Bryan-College Station and Houston by Tuesday evening. A majority of the area remains inside the forecast cone, with the far west and northwest reaches of the area currently being left out. There is still room for wobbles and adjustments in the exact forecast track through the next 24 hours, with any shift changing the exact impacts and intensity of those impacts observed in the Brazos Valley.

Here’s what we know Sunday Night:

  • A big slug of tropical moisture is ready shoved north through the Gulf, and will be moving into the Brazos Valley by Sunday night and into Monday.
  • High pressure over the eastern Gulf will initially steer this system close to South Texas Monday. Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin along the middle Texas coastline by Monday afternoon.
  • Wobbles/shifts in the track could greatly affect the impacts expected for the Brazos Valley, as well as the extent of those impacts. For now -- the biggest impacts to monitor will be heavy rainfall and the potential for tropical-storm-force winds at least in the watch area, but the heavier rainfall and stronger wind will likely sit south of the Brazos Valley, closer to the coast. Still, some flooding is possible through at least midweek.

Here’s what we still need to monitor, as of Sunday night:

  • The exact path of the center of this system as it tracks north through the Gulf, after the center of circulation becomes more defined. That will in turn determine the exact impacts and extent of those impacts that could move into parts of the Brazos Valley.
  • Dependent on the exact track that the center of circulation could take across Southeast Texas, rainfall totals could be WIDELY different from one end of the area to the other. This could be as low as sub-1″ in the far north reaches of the Brazos Valley to over 2″ to 5″+ in the furthest south and southeastern Brazos Valley. If the system moves farther west, additional rainfall will be possible across a greater portion of the area.
  • If the system were to move inland sooner, then drift further north of the coast, that could increase the rain potential for the Brazos Valley. Could also bring a low-end risk of brief tornado concerns Tuesday.

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