From west to east:

Tropical Storm NICHOLAS is now centred some 75 miles to the east of the mouth of the Rio Grande, moving to the north-nor’west at 13 mph. A reconnaissance aircraft has buzzed the storm in the past few hour and reported further strengthening over warm water with early signs of an eyewall forming as the cyclone heads towards a landfall close to Matagorda this evening. An eleventh hour upgrade to a category one hurricane cannot be ruled out but limited sea time and a whiff of upper level shear will keep the worst excesses in check, despite the cataclysmic view of the Canadian guy. This is a tiny storm really with just a 100 mile radius and winds currently gusting 65 knots with potentially higher speeds very close to the centre. NICHOLAS should weaken soon after landfall, diminish into a tropical depression within a couple of days, and degenerate into a remnant low in about three days. Irrespective of intensity at landfall, heavy rain will fall along stretches of coastal Texas and Louisiana over the next couple of days potentially resulting in isolated areas of flash flooding. Isolated minor to moderate river flooding is also expected. There is a reported threat of a life-threatening storm surge along the coast of Texas from Port Aransas to San Luis Pass.

Disturbance Forty One is now around 250 miles north-east of Puerto Rico and beginning to turn more north than west. This is fairly disorganised and is predicted to track north of the Bahamas by Wednesday without significant development, before turning to the north then northeast later in the week. Environmental conditions may become more favourable for development by Thursday, but will by then be headed safely seaward so is only likely to produce a fishstorm.

Disturbance Forty Five has continued to turn north out of the convergence zone, now about a day and a half north-east of the Cape Verde Islands headed north-west at 13 knots. This is not expected to develop

Disturbance Forty Six has slipped the coast of Guinea and is headed out west at 15 knots. This has a development window ahead and could begin to develop by Wednesday or Thursday as it moves crosses the tropical North Atlantic. If this develops and holds course and speed, it is expected to pass close to the north-east of the Caribbean in about a week from now, so they say. Personally, I’d say that at this latitude at this time of year, any forecast over 4 days is highly speculative.

Stand by for NICHOLAS making a landfall tonight in southern Texas otherwise, stand easy.

Image Sławomir Starosta