Tropical Storm Nicholas
Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

Travel Alert September 2021: Tropical Storm Nicholas Strengthens Prior to Landfall

See which airlines have either issued or amended travel waivers as a result of a weather event.

More airlines have issued travel waivers for eastern Texas and portions of Louisiana due to Tropical Storm Nicholas, whose landfall will likely occur as soon as within the next couple of hours tonight, Monday, September 13, 2021 near Matagorda Peninsula Airport along the Matagorda Peninsula just east of Port O’Connor before moving east northeast towards Louisiana and western Mississippi.

Travel Alert September 2021: Tropical Storm Nicholas Strengthens Prior to Landfall

Tropical Storm Nicholas
Source: National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States.

Maximum sustained winds of Tropical Storm Nicholas — which is currently centered approximately 35 miles south southwest of Matagorda in Texas and is moving north northeast at 12 miles per hour — are 70 miles per hour, which means that this storm is classified as a strongest tropical storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale and is on the threshold of hurricane status.

Although Tropical Storm Nicholas is still not expected to technically become a hurricane — even though that possibility is still not out of the question; and if Tropical Storm Nicholas becomes a hurricane, it will be minimal and brief — but of as much concern as interests along the coast, the storm is expected to move inland towards areas which have already been impacted by previous recent tropical systems and could significantly exacerbate flooding and damage in areas such as Gulfport, Lake Charles, Mobile, Jackson, Baton Rouge, Biloxi, and New Orleans.

Official Warnings and Watches

The following official warning was issued by the National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States:

  • A hurricane watch is currently in effect in Texas from Port Aransas to San Luis Pass.
  • A tropical storm warning is currently in effect in Texas from Baffin Bay to Sabine Pass.
  • A storm surge warning is currently in effect in Texas from Port Aransas Texas to Sabine Pass; and for Galveston Bay, Aransas Bay, San Antonio Bay, and Matagorda Bay.
  • A storm surge watch is currently in effect from Sabine Pass in Texas to Rutherford Beach in Louisiana.

Total rainfall amounts of between six and 12 inches — with isolated maximum amounts of as much as 18 inches — across portions of the middle and upper Texas coastal areas through Wednesday. Life-threatening flash flooding impacts — especially in highly urbanized metropolitan areas — are possible across portions of the upper Texas Gulf Coast and far southwestern Louisiana.

Across interior southeast Texas into southern-central Louisiana and southern Mississippi, rainfall totals of between four and eight inches with locally higher amounts near ten inches are expected through Thursday. This rainfall may produce areas of considerable flash and urban flooding.

The potential for minor to isolated moderate river flooding exists across the entire region, along with isolated major river flooding, especially in the smaller river basins and urban areas.

The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…

  • Port O’Connor to San Luis Pass — including Matagorda Bay: 3-5 feet
  • San Luis Pass to Rutherford Beach in Louisiana — including Galveston Bay: 2-4 feet
  • Port Aransas to Port O’Connor in Texas: 2-4 feet
  • Aransas Bay and San Antonio Bay: 2-4 feet
  • Rutherford Beach to Intracoastal City in Louisiana: 1-3 feet
  • Sabine Lake and Calcasieu Lake: 1-3 feet
  • Baffin Bay to Port Aransas in Texas: 1-3 feet
  • Corpus Christi Bay: 1-3 feet
  • Mouth of the Rio Grande to Baffin Bay: 1-2 feet

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.

Tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area across the central and upper Texas coasts through tonight, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Hurricane conditions are possible in the Hurricane Watch area as early as this evening.

A couple of tornadoes will be possible through tonight, mainly along the upper Texas coast.

Swells generated by Tropical Storm Nicholas will continue affecting portions of the northwest gulf coast through Tuesday. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to or from eastern Texas over the next couple of days, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to this tropical weather system which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary.

Here are six airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this tropical weather system:

Final Boarding Call

Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

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