Tropical Storm Nicholas Picking Up Speed, Flooding Still Serious Threat

Nicholas expected to make landfall Monday night.
Nicholas expected to make landfall Monday night. National Hurricane Center
Since last night, Tropical Storm Nicholas has organized just a bit around a center of circulation just a bit closer to the coastline than originally thought. But, despite its attempts to strengthen, the storm is clearly being inhibited by dry air and wind shear, a fight that will likely continue right up until landfall, which is now expected late tonight somewhere between Corpus Christi and Matagorda Bay.

Another change, and one that is beneficial to all of us in the Houston area, is that Nicholas appears to be picking up speed. The storm now should clear our area by later in the day on Wednesday meaning the biggest rainfall threats for us come between Monday afternoon and early Wednesday morning.

About those threats, because Nicholas is expected to move a little more quickly than first anticipated, that will lessen the chances of catastrophic rains in the region. We are still expected to get widespread rainfall totals between five and 10 inches with areas closer to the coast a bit higher, and a couple of bullseye spots potentially with 20-plus. But, the prolonged rainfall event forecast in some models has backed off just a bit, thankfully.

What you should expect is very rainy conditions with widespread downpours with some storms generating two to four inches of rain per hour. That kind of rainfall can swamp streets with flash flooding, particularly in flood-prone areas. If you can, it will be best to avoid driving Monday night through Tuesday evening. And if you do have to drive, be particularly cautious of high water spots. These are exactly the type of conditions that can lead to unexpected and sudden flash flooding on area roadways.

By Wednesday, the bulk of the weather should be well to our northeast and we can begin to dry out. We'll keep you posted as the day continues.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke