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Tropical Storm Nicholas Forms: Not a Threat to South Carolina

Infrared Nicholas

Tropical Storm Nicholas formed over the Southern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday morning, according to meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center.

An area of thunderstorms west of the Yucatan peninsula was being monitored by forecasters on Friday and Saturday. Satellite imagery and observation data showed Sunday that storm cells had become better organized a weak center of circulation had formed. In addition, reconnaissance data acquired by hurricane hunters indicated that the area of low pressure was producing sustained winds of about 40 mph by early Sunday morning. These data all signified that the area had developed into a tropical storm, named Nicholas.

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Steering patterns in the atmosphere are such that Nicholas should take a northward/north northwestward track into the western Gulf of Mexico. Sea surface temperatures in that area are warm and the atmosphere contains ample moisture to support continued thunderstorm growth. Some strengthening is expected over the next few days, however strong mid and upper-level winds should prevent any substantial growth. Nicholas is forecasted to remain a tropical storm through landfall, which should take place over the Texas coastline sometime on Tuesday.

Although the storm is not expected to produce excessively strong winds, it could produce very heavy rainfall and flash flooding. Saturated ground and damaging wind gusts could lead to downed branches and trees. Minor power outages near the Texas Gulf Coast are also possible. In addition, storm surge inundations of 2 to 4 feet are forecasted from the mouth of the Rio Grande River to High Island east of Galveston Bay.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Port Aransas, while a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from Port Aransas to High Island. A Storm Surge watch has been issued from the Rio Grande to High Island.

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Elsewhere in the tropics, there are several areas being monitored by forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. The majority of these areas are off the African Coast, however one is over the western Atlantic, near the US Southeast. In this region, a stalled frontal boundary is expected to interact later this week with a tropical wave approaching from the Bahamas. Meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center say that a tropical depression could form off the Carolina coast later this week. Although there are no immediate threats to our area, readers are encouraged to continue monitoring the forecast.