A tropical storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico is poised to drench coastal areas of Texas and Louisiana over the next several days. It's just the latest of a fairly active tropical season, which has already wrought devastation on many parts of the U.S.
Tropical Storm Nicholas, which formed Sunday morning, could bring heavy rain and significant flooding starting late Sunday and running through at least Tuesday. The National Weather Service reports that coastal counties will face the greatest threat, with 5-10 inches of rainfall that could cause flooding. These areas also face likelihood of tropical storm force winds, and a Category 1 hurricane is "not out of the question," forecasters said.
A storm surge watch is in effect for much of the Texas coast, up to the Houston area. The NWS says there's a potential for "life-threatening" storm surge along the coast, from the mouth of the Rio Grande to High Island.
It's already been quite an active storm season. In late August, the Category 4 Hurricane Ida was one of the most intense hurricanes on record to hit Louisiana, causing more than a million people in the state to lose power. More than 100,000 customers in southeast Louisiana are still without power.
And as the remnants of Ida traveled north, the storms caused catastrophic flooding throughout the northeastern U.S. More than four dozen people were killed by Ida and its aftermath.
Sept. 10 was the official peak of the Atlantic hurricane season — the day when you're most likely to find a cyclone somewhere in the Atlantic. Beside Nicholas, additional storm systems are currently developing. The National Hurricane Center reports that a tropical depression could form later this week several hundred miles southeast of the Carolinas as it heads toward the Eastern Seaboard.
Fourteen named storms have formed this season. The next one will be called Odette.