On Monday, heavy rain from Tropical Storm Nicholas landed near the Texas coast, with experts predicting rainfall rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour.
Rain bands from Nicholas have reached Galveston, Texas, by 2:30 p.m. CDT, according to the National Weather Service in Houston, which also reported that winds were rising up swiftly in the area as the storm strengthened before making an estimated late Monday landfall.
Nicholas was about 60 miles south-southwest of Matagorda, Texas, a day after developing in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and heading north-northeast at 12 mph, according to an 8 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.
The storm is expected to continue to strengthen Monday evening, and when it reaches landfall on the northwest Gulf coast, it could be near hurricane strength. If winds hit 74 mph, it will become a Category 1 hurricane.
Beginning Monday, forecasters warned that the storm may trigger flash flooding and a catastrophic storm surge.
Officials in Houston stated that high, standing water was forming on freeways, and that barricades were being placed on municipal streets. The city is under a flash flood warning that will last until Tuesday evening.
“Do not go around barricades,” transportation officials urged. “They are there for your protection.”
A hurricane watch was in place from Port Aransas to Free Port, Texas, while a tropical storm warning was issued from the Rio Grande’s mouth to High Island, Texas, and from Barra el Mezquital to the US-Mexico border.
Through the middle of this week, Nicholas is forecast to dump 20 inches of rain in isolated portions of middle and upper Texas.
“This rainfall may produce areas of considerable flash and urban flooding, especially in highly urbanized metropolitan areas,” the NHC said. “Additionally, there is the potential for isolated minor to moderate river flooding.”