As we enter the climatological peak of Hurricane Season, the Atlantic is getting active again.
The main focus right now is Tropical Storm Nicholas, centered about 105 miles south of Port O’Connor, Texas, moving northward at 12 mph. Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph. A Hurricane Watch, Tropical Storm Warning, and Storm Surge Warning are all in effect for much of the Texas coastline. The good news is that Nicholas doesn’t have too long to strengthen, as landfall is likely along the Texas coastline this evening. The bad news is that it will be a prolific rain-maker for Texas (and Louisiana). Rainfall totals of 8-16 inches and locally heavier will produce widespread flooding across the region, including the Houston metropolitan area.
While heavy rain and resultant flooding are the main threat with Nicholas, they aren’t the only threat. Tropical Storm force winds are already impacting the Texas coast, and will continue into tonight. With Nicholas expected to be close to hurricane strength at landfall, wind gusts may exceed 70 mph along the coast. Storm surge is the other concern. A surge of up to 5 feet is possible near and just to the right of where the center makes landfall. This will result in coastal flooding, in addition to the freshwater flooding that the heavy rain will produce.
Nicholas is the only active system in the Atlantic right now, but it’s not the only system that we’re keeping an eye on. A tropical wave that just moved off the coast of Africa is disorganized right now, but should move into an area of favorable conditions as it continues westward this week. It could become a tropical depression toward the latter half of the week, but it is still at least a week away from impacting any land areas, if it ever does. We’ve got plenty of time to watch this one as it makes its way westward.
A little closer to home, we need to keep our eyes on the Bahamas. Many of the forecast models are showing the potential for a cluster of storms near the Bahamas to interact with a tropical wave, and organize into a low pressure area later this week. Most of these models keep the system fairly weak, but it could become a tropical depression or even a weak tropical storm as it makes its way northward over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. At the very least, it should bring some rainfall to parts of the East Coast, but there’s a chance that the leftover moisture from Nicholas could be infused into the system, which would enhance the rainfall with the system. We’ll have to watch this system to see if it develops, and if so, how it develops, to get a better idea of what, if any, impact if will have on the East Coast.
Typhoon Chanthu continues to slowly weaken in the Western Pacific. After grazing Taiwan over the weekend it has moved northward, but has slowed down off the eastern coast of China, just east of Shanghai. It is expected to resume moving northeastward on Tuesday while continuing to weaken, passing near or just south of South Korea on Wednesday as a tropical storm. Gusty winds and heavy rain are expected, especially in southern portions of South Korea.
Finally, we’ll leave you with this. Former Hurricane Larry remains a powerful storm near Greenland at this time. Over the weekend, it dropped up to 4 feet of snow on the island, and more is falling today. It is already beginning to impact Iceland, where winds have gusted to 46 mph at Reykjavik today. We may be at the peak of hurricane season, but the fall and winter are not far away for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.