September 17, 2021

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Tropical Storm Nicholas forms in Gulf of Mexico, expected to bring heavy rainfall to Texas and Louisiana – USA TODAY

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Tropical Storm Nicholas has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, and parts of Texas and Louisiana are expected to experience heavy rainfall and strong storm surge from the 14th named Atlantic storm this year.

The National Hurricane Center said Sunday afternoon the storm was roughly 310 miles southeast of the Texas-Mexico border.

Tropical Storm Nicholas is forecast to bring storm surge and heavy rains to parts of Texas and Louisiana. Image shows the 1 p.m. forecast cone. Storms can track outside the cone, and effects can be felt outside the cone.

As of 2 p.m. ET Sunday, the tropical storm warning was in effect from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Port Aransas near Corpus Christi and inparts of northeastern Mexico. A tropical storm watch means winds at least 39 mph are expected to hit the area within 36 hours. The area southeast of Houston is expected to be affected within the next 48 hours.

The National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Nicholas will bring potentially life-threatening storm surges along much of the Texas coast. Rains of 5 to 10 inches, and potentially 15 in spots, could happen. Lesser amounts of rain are forecast for the area most battered by Hurricane Ida, which made landfall two weeks ago.

Ida severely impacted parts of Louisiana and Mississippi before delivering torrential rains to the Northeast. More than 80 people died across the country as a result of the storm.

USA TODAY storm tracker

In advance of Nicholas, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he has dispatched emergency services along the state’s coast.

“We will continue to closely monitor this storm and take all necessary precautions to keep Texans safe. I encourage Texans to follow the guidance and warnings of their local officials and be mindful of potential heavy rain and flooding,” he said in a statement.

Only four other years since 1966 have had 14 or more named storms by Sept. 12: 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2020.

University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said the season’s 14th named storm is about two months ahead of historical expectations.

Contributing: Associated Press

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.

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