Tropical storm Nicholas formed yesterday, becoming the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season so far, and is now heading for a landfall today in Texas later today while strengthening as it goes.
In recent hours tropical storm Nicholas has gained structure and its eye has begun to reform, after a few hours where the storm looked like it might become more ragged and broken apart.
But the very warm waters of the coastal Gulf of Mexico have helped to spark more thunderstorm activity in Nicholas and the storm is now intensifying, with pressure dropping.
At this time tropical storm Nicholas has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and higher gusts up to almost 75 mph.
Further strengthening is anticipated now and the NHC said that tropical storm Nicholas could strengthen right the way up to landfall, which will be late in the day or evening local time, which means it is not out of the question that we see a hurricane Nicholas before it makes landfall.
Tropical storm Nicholas is going to parallel the Texas coastline for much of the next day, with the eye offshore and still possibly able to feed on the warm Gulf waters, meaning the storms coastal impacts could be relatively long-lasting.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles, while the minimum central pressure of Nicholas has deepened and continues to.
Tropical storm Nicholas is carrying a significant amount of moisture from the warm Gulf of Mexico waters and is expected to threaten flash flooding and torrential rains.
Rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches are widely expected across Texas and into south Louisiana, with storm total rainfall of 8 to 16 inches likely and isolated maximum amounts of as high as 20 inches possible.
A storm surge of 3 to 5 feet in depth is forecast for Port O’Connor to San Luis Pass, Texas, including Matagorda Bay, with lower totals of up to 4 feet expected more widely along the coast including areas like Galveston Bay, Corpus Christi and the mouth of the Rio Grande.
Hurricane force wind gusts are anticipated, but at this time it does appear tropical storm Nicholas, even if it can become hurricane Nicholas, will be more of a water threat from its rainfall and flooding, than a threat of wind damage.
Tropical storm Nicholas looks like more of a threat to the insurance industry, rather than to reinsurance capital at this stage, as a lower wind speed storm or minor hurricane, but the rainfall threat could be severe and cause relatively significant impacts it seems.
Tropical storm Nicholas is forecast to slow as it moves towards and through landfall, with a severe rainfall threat for some coastal areas of Texas and even the Houston metro area under a moderate rainfall threat at this time.
Nicholas has a chance of reaching hurricane strength prior to landfall, but if it does the wind-field of hurricane strength winds should remain relatively small helping to reduce damage.
If it can reach hurricane strength the risk to reinsurance capital does, of course, rise, but at this stage it still appears Nicholas will pose its greatest threat from water rather than wind.