A potential threat posed by Tropical Storm Nicholas prompted the issuance of a Hurricane Watch for a portion of the Texas coast on Sunday. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Tropical Storm Nicholas was located at latitude 22.5°N and longitude 95.5°W which put it about 260 miles (415 km) south-southeast of the Mouth of the Rio Grande River. Nicholas was moving toward the north at 2 m.p.h. (3 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were’ wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 1007 mb.
A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Port Aransas to Freeport, Texas. A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Barra el Mezquital, Mexico to High Island Texas. The Tropical Storm Warning included Corpus Christi and Galveston. A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from High Island to Sabine Pass, Texas.
The circulation around Tropical Storm Nicholas was poorly organized. There was a broad center of circulation in the middle of Nicholas. Several smaller cyclonic circulations were revolving around inside the broad center. Many of the thunderstorms were occurring in bands in the northern half of Tropical Storm Nicholas. Bands in the southern half of Nicholas consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 115 miles (185 km) in the northeastern quadrant of Tropical Storm Nicholas. The winds in the other parts of Nicholas’ circulation were blowing at less than tropical storm force.
Tropical Storm Nicholas will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 24 hours. Nicholas will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 30˚C. It will move between and upper level low over northern Mexico and an upper level ridge over the northwestern Caribbean Sea. The upper low and ridge will produce southerly winds that will blow toward the top of Nicholas’ circulation. Those winds will cause some vertical wind shear, but the shear will not be strong enough to prevent intensification. The upper level low will move west and weaken on Monday. The upper level ridge will extend west over Tropical Storm Nicholas. When the ridge extends over Nicholas the upper level winds will weaken. When the upper level winds weaken, the vertical wind shear will decrease. Tropical Storm Nicholas will strengthen when that occurs. If a more well defined center develops in the middle of Nicholas, the it could strengthen more quickly. There is a chance that Nicholas could intensify to a hurricane later on Monday.
Tropical Storm Nicholas will move around the western side of a high pressure system that extends over the Gulf of Mexico. The high will steer Nicholas toward the north-northwest during the next 24 hours. On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Nicholas will approach the coast near the Mouth of the Rio Grande River on Monday. Nicholas will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to coastal areas of northern Mexico and east Texas on Monday. Tropical Storm Nicholas could also cause a storm surge of up to 7 feet (2 meters) along portions of the coast. It is possible that a new center of circulation could develop closer to the thunderstorms in the northern half of Tropical Storm Nicholas. If a new center develops farther to the north, that could increase the threat to northeastern Texas and western Louisiana.
Tropical Storm Beta strengthened on Friday night and a Hurricane Watch was issued for a portion of the Texas coast. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Storm Beta was located at latitude 25.2°N and longitude 92.3°W which put it about 305 miles (495 km) east of the Mouth of the Rio Grande River. Beta was moving toward the north-northeast at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 996 mb.
A Hurricane Watch was issued for the portion of the coast from Port Aransas to High Island, Texas. Tropical Storm Watches were issued for the portions of the coast from the Mouth of the Rio Grande River to Port Aransas, Texas and from High Island, Texas to Morgan City, Louisiana.
Although Tropical Storm Beta looked like a highly sheared tropical cyclone on infrared satellite images, a reconnaissance plane found on Friday night that it had strengthened. Even though the wind speeds were stronger and the surface pressure had decreased, the circulation was still asymmetrical. An upper level trough over Texas was producing south-southwesterly winds which were blowing toward the top of Beta. Those winds were causing moderate vertical wind shear. Because of the wind shear, the stronger thunderstorms were occurring in bands on the northern side of Tropical Storm Beta. Bands in the southern half of the tropical storm consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 175 miles (280 km) in the northeastern quadrant of Beta. Tropical storm force winds extended out 100 miles (160 km) in the northwestern quadrant and out only 50 miles (80 km) in the southern half of the circulation. The pressure difference between a large high pressure system over the eastern U.S. and the low pressure at the center of Beta was contributing to the strong winds on the northeastern side of the tropical storm.
Tropical Storm Beta will move through an environment somewhat favorable for intensification during the next several days. Beta will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C. The upper level trough over Texas will weaken and gradually move away from Tropical Storm Beta. When the trough moves away from Beta, the wind shear will decrease and Beta will be able to intensify more easily. Tropical Storm Beta could intensify into a hurricane in during the weekend.
The steering pattern around Tropical Storm Beta will be complex. The upper level trough over Texas is likely to steer Beta toward the north during the next 12 to 18 hours. Then a large cool high pressure system over the eastern U.S. will block Tropical Storm Beta from moving any farther to the north. The high will steer Beta to the west. On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Beta could approach the coast of Texas by the end of the weekend. Beta could move more toward the northeast when the high pressure system starts to shift toward the east early next week.
Elsewhere, Hurricane Teddy continued to move toward Bermuda. At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Hurricane Teddy was located at latitude 24.0°N and longitude 57.4°W which put it about 730 miles (1170 km) southeast of Bermuda. Teddy was moving toward the northwest at 13 m.p.h. (20 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 150 m.p.h. (240 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 951 mb.