Science

Nicholas marks the 14th named storm of 2021—a number we usually hit in November

It seems like just yesterday that the entire East Coast was pummeled by Hurricanes Ida and Henri, but another potentially disastrous storm is already on the horizon. Tropical Storm Nicholas is headed towards Texas and Louisiana, with storm surge risks of two to five feet across the southern states

Hurricane conditions could become a reality within a matter of two days, according to the National Hurricane Center. Currently, maximum sustained winds are at 60 miles per hour, whereas Ida hit around 150 mph at landfall. Areas around Galveston Bay and Matagorda Bay are at risk for “excessive rainfall,” according to CNN. This comes with risks of severe flash flooding.

Coastal Texas and Louisiana are at the most immediate risk of flash flooding. NOAA

“Rainfall amounts in excess of 10-15 inches with isolated higher totals are expected through the end of the day on Tuesday in some locations,” wrote the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, Louisiana. “Rather than fall in an even distribution, heavy rainfall will put down significant totals in relatively short periods, which enhances the threat of flash flooding.”

[Related: Why Ida drenched the Northeast—and what that means for future storms]

Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency yesterday in preparation for Nicholas, saying “the most severe threat to Louisiana is in the Southwest portion of the state, where recovery from Hurricane Laura and the May flooding is ongoing.” 

Climate change’s involvement in increasingly dangerous storms has become more clear in the past few years, as research has shown climate change makes storms more common and also more treacherous in terms of flooding and damage. Over the past 40 years, tropical storms have become more intense than would be possible by just nature alone, according to the most recent UN climate report. Warmer, water-filled air and rising sea levels are making storms wetter and more prone to surges, reports The New York Times.  

Nicholas is the 14th named storm of the season, something that normally occurs in mid to late November. Just last year, records were broken with 30 named storms across a single hurricane season between July and late November.



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