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Hurricane watch in effect as Nicholas strengthens in Gulf

Weather

Nicholas is forecast to make landfall on the Texas coast between Corpus Christi and Galveston, Texas, Monday as a tropical storm. It can bring impacts to the Gulf Coast long before landfall, though. 

Officials in Texas and Louisiana are sounding the alarm ahead of the latest tropical threat to take aim at the Gulf Coast region. Tropical Storm Nicholas was closing in on the coast of Texas Monday morning, and AccuWeather forecasters said the storm could produce a significant flooding threat around the greater Houston area.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, Nicholas was moving erratically about 210 miles south of Port O’Connor, Texas, and 40 miles southeast of the mouth of the Rio Grande River. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and was slowly moving to the north at a speed of 5 mph, down from 14 mph three hours earlier. Tropical-storm-force winds extended outward up to 115 miles from the center of Nicholas.

A hurricane watch covered areas from Port Aransas to Freeport, Texas, while a tropical storm warning was in effect for the coast of Texas from the mouth of the Rio Grande to High Island, Texas, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. A tropical storm watch was issued for areas from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Port Aransas, Texas, and storm surge warnings were in place for parts of the Texas coast.

A state of emergency was declared in Louisiana by Gov. John Bel Edwards Sunday while Texas Gov. Greg Abbott raised the state’s emergency alert level and readied incident management teams which included swift water rescue boat squads.

“The State of Texas has deployed resources ahead of this tropical system, which is expected to impact the Gulf Coast beginning on Sunday,” said Abbott. “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.”