Tropical Storm Nicholas could strengthen into hurricane before reaching Texas coast

Author: Janet Miranda

2021/09/13

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Tropical Storm Nicholas continues to strengthen as it moves towards the Texas coast and could be near hurricane strength before reaching the Texas coast late Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The tropical storm is located about 85 miles (137 km) south-southwest of Matagorda, Texas. Maximum sustained winds have increased to 65 miles/hour (105 km/hour).

Nicholas is moving towards the north-northeast and it is forecasted to keep moving in this direction through tonight. Strengthening is expected in the meantime, although the storm should weaken by Tuesday and Wednesday as it moves inland.

The following map shows the forecasted path of the storm.

Source: NHC

Nicholas is expected to produce high winds, heavy rains and the possibility of storm surges across the impacted region.

About 6 to 12 inches of rain is expected, with isolated amounts up to 18 inches across portions of the Texas coast.

Interior southeast Texas is forecasted to see totals of 4 to 8 inches, with localised flooding reaching up to 10 inches through Thursday.

Life-threatening flash floods could occur in metropolitan areas across the upper Texas Gulf Coast and in southwestern Louisiana, the NHC said.

Tropical Storm Nicholas could disrupt operations at several chemical plants, refineries and terminals that export oil, fuel and natural gas liquids (NGL) in the Texas coast.

US liquefied natural gas (LNG) production did not appear to be immediately threatened, as feedgas to Freeport LNG and Corpus Christi in Texas remained stable from the previous day for 13 September.

Daylight-only transits were advised by Sabine pilots on 13 September, as two loadings took place from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass in Cameron Parish, Louisiana.

Two LNG vessels were in port at Freeport LNG by mid-day and another vessel was loading at Cameron LNG on 13 September.

Nicholas comes 15 days after Hurricane Ida made landfall in neighbouring Louisiana.

The hurricane caused a large reduction in the production of US Gulf offshore oil and natural gas due to damage to key ports in southeastern Louisiana and equipment for offshore production.

Hurricane Ida winds and rainfall knocked out power in the region and caused plant outages across affected areas, further tightening key US chemicals and polymer markets, although the impact was less severe than from Winter Storm Uri.

PORT CONDITIONS
Ports in the Texas and west Louisiana gulf region are on watch as Tropical Storm Nicholas nears landfall in the area late Monday.

All shipping ports listed below remain open, with Corpus Christi and Freeport, Texas, likely to be most impacted by the storm.

  • Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas
  • Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Galveston, Texas
  • Freeport, Texas
  • Houston, Texas
  • Lake Charles, Louisiana

Freeport is expected to close temporarily late evening on 13 September and reopen on 15 September, according to shipping agent GAC North America.

In Houston, the container terminals have ceased ingate operations through Tuesday morning, Port Houston said.

Additional reporting by Ruth Liao, Anna Matherne

Thumbnail image shows projected path of Nicholas. Map by National Hurricane Center