Tropical Storm Nicholas made its way to the Texas coast on Sunday evening, threatening to bring heavy rain and flooding to storm-devastated coastal areas of Texas, Mexico and Louisiana.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said a hurricane watch had been issued for the central part of the Texas coast, with much of the state’s coastline now subject to a tropical storm warning. Nicholas is expected to approach the central Texas coast on Monday evening and could bring heavy rains that could cause flash floods and urban flooding.
For several days, Nicholas is expected to produce total precipitation of up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) in Texas and southwestern Louisiana, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches (50 centimeters), over parts of the Texas coast from Sunday evening through midweek.
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Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the state has placed rescue teams and resources in the Houston area and along the Texas Gulf Coast.
“This is a storm that could leave heavy rains, as well as wind and possibly flooding, in different areas of the Gulf Coast. We urge you to listen to local weather alerts, heed local warnings. “Abbot said in a video message.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Sunday evening ahead of the storm’s arrival in a state still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Ida and Hurricane Laura and historic flooding.
“The most serious threat to Louisiana is in the southwestern part of the state, where recovery from Hurricane Laura and the May flooding is underway. In this region, heavy rains and flash floods However, it is also likely that all of southern Louisiana will experience heavy rain this week, including areas recently affected by Hurricane Ida, ”Edwards said.
At 11 p.m. EDT, the center of the storm was expected to pass near or just off the coasts of northeastern Mexico and southern Texas on Monday, and strike southern or central Texas on Monday evening or early Tuesday. Its maximum sustained winds were recorded at 40 mph (65 km / h) and it was moving north at 2 mph (4 km / h), although its speed is expected to increase early on Monday. Gradual strengthening is possible until it reaches the coast on Monday evening or early Tuesday.
The storm was expected to bring the heaviest precipitation west of where Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana two weeks ago. Although forecasters didn’t expect Louisiana to suffer from strong winds again, meteorologist Bob Henson of Yale Climate Connections predicted that precipitation could still affect places where the hurricane knocked down homes, crippled them. electrical and hydraulic infrastructure and killed at least 26 people.
“There could be several inches of rain in southeast Louisiana where Ida has hit,” Henson said in an email.
Across Louisiana, 140,198 customers – or about 6.3 percent of the state – went without power Sunday morning, according to the Louisiana Public Service Commission.
The storm is expected to move slowly along the coast, which could dump torrential rains over several days, said meteorologist Donald Jones of the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
“Heavy rains and flash floods seem to be the biggest threat in our region,” he said.
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While Lake Charles received minimal impact from Ida, the city saw several hits from Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta in 2020, a winter storm in February as well as historic flooding this spring.
“We are still a very battered town,” said Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter.
He said the city is taking the threat of the storm seriously, as is the case with all tropical systems.
“Hope and prayer are not a good game plan,” Hunter said.
In Cameron Parish on the Louisiana coast, Scott Trahan is still finishing repairs to his home damaged by Hurricane Laura last year which put about 2 feet of water in his home. He hopes to be done by Christmas. He said many in his area have moved instead of rebuilding.
“If you get your butt flogged about four times, you’re not going to get up. You’re going to go somewhere else,” Trahan said.
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Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said via Twitter that Nicholas is the 14th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season 2021. Only 4 more years since 1966 have had 14 or more named storms in the Atlantic. September 12: 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2020.