Texas coast faces flood threat from Tropical Storm Nicholas

State braces for the Atlantic’s 14th storm this year, which could increase to hurricane strength

Tropical Storm Nicholas has formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico and will gradually strengthen as it comes north along the Texas coast through the course of the week.

The storm, which formed over the Bay of Campeche, could cause problems for energy production and processing in the area.

Nicholas has top wind of 64kph and was about 210 kilometres north-east of Veracruz, Mexico, the US National Hurricane Centre said at 7pm GST.

The system has brought tropical storm warnings along the coasts of Mexico and Texas, as far north as Port Aransas.

Rain and possible flooding are also expected in south-west Louisiana in the middle of the week, the centre said.

Coming just two weeks after Hurricane Ida landed, Nicholas is the Atlantic’s 14th storm in 2021, half of which have hit the US.

Ida was the season’s worst, crashing into the Louisiana coastline before devastating New York with rain and floods that killed more than 40 people.

It is estimated to have caused almost $18 billion in damage, which will be covered by insurers.

The official forecast calls for Nicholas’s wind to peak at 104kph, but there is a chance it could even reach hurricane strength this week, said Jim Rouiller, lead meteorologist at the Energy Weather Group.

“Strengthening appears likely and it will bring a significant risk to the energy production region of the western and eastern Gulf by mid-week,” Mr Rouiller said.

An average Atlantic season produces 14 storms by the time it ends in November, so 2021 is ahead of pace.

Updated: September 12th 2021, 11:17 PM