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Nicholas approaching the central Texas Gulf Coast as a strong tropical storm

Expected to make landfall Monday night.
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 4:02 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2021 at 7:42 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Eyes are on Tropical Storm Nicholas Monday evening the system approaches the middle Texas Gulf Coast as a strong tropical storm. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH and a FLASH FLOOD WATCH are in effect for Austin and Waller counties until further notice.

LocationMax WindDirectionPressure
~ 35 miles SSW of Matagorda, TX70 mphNNE at 12 mph988 mb
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)

Monday Evening Update: As of the 7pm update issued by the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Nicholas is approaching the middle Texas coastline as a strong tropical storm. Forecasters note that some strengthening is possible over the next few hours ahead of landfall Monday night, and Nicholas could become a hurricane when it reaches the coastline. For the Brazos Valley -- the forecast cone shifted slightly farther south earlier Monday afternoon, meaning Nicholas could be a less impactful storm for parts of the area. Still -- because of the large wind field associated with the storm, breezy conditions and some tropical downpours are still in the cards for parts of the Brazos Valley, especially farther south and east. In Bryan - College Station and surrounding areas, wind gusts upwards of 20 - 30 mph are still a possibility overnight Monday and early Tuesday, with higher winds gusts of 35 mph+ possible in the southern and eastern reaches of the area. A sharp gradient in rainfall totals is still expected from one side of the Brazos Valley to the other -- with a few inches of rain still in the cards south and east, but totals <1″ north and west. We’ll monitor for any wobbles or adjustments in the path of Nicholas through the overnight, but confidence is increasing that the higher and worsening impacts will be felt south of the Brazos Valley, closer to Houston and the Gulf Coast.

We’ll keep you updated over the next 24 hours! Updates here, on-air, and on the KBTX PinPoint Weather App.

EARLIER UPDATES:

Monday Afternoon: With the 4pm update issued by the National Hurricane Center, the forecast track for Tropical Storm Nicholas has shifted slightly south. After an expected landfall along the middle Texas coastline Monday night, the center of circulation is currently expected to pass south of B/CS, closer to Houston by Tuesday evening. If this materializes, less impacts will be seen across the Brazos Valley, especially the farther north and west you travel, but higher rain chances and the chance for stronger winds will still be a possibility especially south and east.

Ahead of landfall, some rain activity is still possible in the Brazos Valley Monday evening. The heaviest rainfall will continue to be found along and east of the center over the next 24-36 hours, with higher rainfall totals found closer to the coast. Areas to the southeast of the region are expected to see rainfall totals upwards of 5-10+ inches over the next three days while totals closer to home could be <1″ - 4″+. Tropical storm force winds with gusts upwards of 40-50 mph are possible around and east of the center of circulation. Closer to B/CS we could see gusts upwards of 30 mph making for a windy Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Monday Morning: Models continue to point to a landfall later in the day / early evening Monday. The Brazos Valley will begin to see outer rain bands from this system throughout the day and into tonight. The center of circulation will pass over the Central Brazos Valley at some point Tuesday morning, moving eastward, away from the area, by Wednesday.

Through that timeframe, we continue to monitor the potential for some areas to receive several inches of rain in a relatively short amount of time. Areas of flooding remain the greatest risk to the area through midweek.

It is worth re-iterating that there will be a wide variation in rainfall by the end of the week, and forecasts will need to be adjusted as the system moves through. Bottom line, prepare for weather to disrupt your plans through the first half of the week, especially through Tuesday afternoon.

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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