Tropical Storm Nicholas forms in southeastern Gulf of Mexico

Miami, Sep 12 (EFE).- Tropical Storm Nicholas formed on Sunday in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and is heading northwest with maximum sustained winds of 49 miles per hour, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center reported.

At 1500 GMT, the center of the system, which could make landfall on Monday somewhere near the Texas-Mexico border, was located about 130 miles northeast of Veracruz, Mexico, and 405 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Rio Grande.

The Mexican government issued a tropical storm warning extending from Barra el Mezquital northwards to the US-Mexico border.

Although the storm is not expected to attain hurricane force, Mexico’s National Weather Service (SMN) is forecasting “intense and torrential rains over the states of Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas and Tabasco and very heavy rain in Puebla.”

“In addition, estimates are for wind gusts of up to 60-70 kilometers (37-43 miles) per hour and storm surge of 2-3 meters (6.5-9.8 feet) along the coasts of Tamaulipas and Veracruz” and slightly lesser winds and storm surge for the coasts of Campeche, Tabasco and Yucatan.

In addition, in the US a storm surge alert was issued for the Texas coast from the mouth of the Rio Grande to High Island.

A tropical storm watch has been activated for the Texas coast from north of Port Aransas to High Island.

Nicholas is moving to the northwest at about 13 miles per hour and expectations are that this general movement will continue on Sunday night, according to the NHC.

The trajectory cone issued by the NHC shows that the center of the storm should pass near the northeastern Mexican coast and the southern Texas coast on Monday night and then it should approach the southern or central Texas coast “early” on Tuesday.

The forecast is for Nicholas to gradually strengthen as it moves into the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. The storm’s tropical storm force winds extend from the center of Nicholas out up to 105 miles, according to the NHC advisory.

Meanwhile, another tropical wave is seen to be forming near Cape Verde and there is a slight possibility that it will strengthen to tropical storm force within the next 48 hours.

There is also a slight possibility that a non-tropical low pressure zone in the far northeastern Atlantic will develop further, although it is currently located several hundred miles east-northeast of the Azores.

The NHC is also monitoring another tropical wave that “will move” off the western coast of Africa within a couple of days” and an area of low pressure near The Bahamas, both of which show only slight chances of developing into tropical storms within the next 48 hours, although they could become better organized over the coming five days.

So far this year, five hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic basin – Elsa, Grace, Henri, Ida and Larry – of which Grace, Ida and Larry have become Category 3 storms, or higher.

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