John Smith was sent to Surfside from his home in Oyster Creek to see how his parents’ properties in the village were weathering the winds and waves riled by Tropical Storm Nicholas.
“They’re not worried but wanted to be safe and have someone check on the houses,” he said. “Their houses aren’t right on the beach so they have a little bit of protection from the wind.”
Nicholas is Smith’s first tropical system and he took a little time to visit the Surfside jetty and watch the storm roll in after checking on the houses.
Waves continued to grow throughout the day, crashing over the jetty and steadily approaching homes built on the sand along the beach.
Forecasters expected a storm surge of 3 to 5 feet along the Brazoria County coastline. Projections Monday afternoon put the surge’s arrival near the same time period as high tide, just after midnight, which could heighten the amount of water pushed ashore.
“As the winds keep getting stronger and we get more rain, I wouldn’t be surprised if the water comes up to the dunes,” Lake Jackson-based storm chaser Zachary Shoemaker said as he recoded video on the beach around noon. “Although this isn’t a hurricane, it is a solid little storm with some strong winds in it.”
Winds already were in the upper 20s and gusts reaching into the 30s by early Monday afternoon, which combined with the expected surge, prompted the county and village to close off most beach entrances. A few people could be seen walking along the beach and even entering the water late in the morning, but by the evening, anyone who came by the shore remained in the safe and dry confines of their vehicles.
Earlier in the day, people were taking advantage of the storm roiling up the water to get in some surfing.
“There were two guys out there this morning making their second run when the first squall line came through and about blew them off their boards,” surfing photographer Tom Hendrickson said. “They were down on threes, holding on with one hand as the waves pushed them all around. There was a third guy walking down the jetty with his longboard and he got blown so hard he had to walk backward to make it back on land. I had to park my camper facing into the wind because it was starting to rock and roll a bit.”
Hendrickson is planning to ride out the storm at the Surfside Jetty Park.
Steady, wind-driven rain had started causing street flooding in the coastal communities by mid-afternoon, prompting property owners to shutter their properties to protect them from the storm.
Most of the residents in Surfside planned to ride out the storm where they were and weren’t evacuating. Across the channel, however, the town of Quintana was issued a mandatory evacuation that took effect at 3 p.m.
As of 2 p.m., hardly a vehicle could be seen in the village and county workers blocked roads that led to the Gulf, keeping an eye on water levels.