Hurricane Nicholas made landfall along the Texas coast early Tuesday, raising fears of up to 20 inches of rain over parts of the Gulf Coast, including the same area affected by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and the Louisiana hit by storm.
Nicholas landed in the eastern part of the Matagorda Peninsula, about 10 miles west southwest of Sargent Beach, Texas, with maximum winds of 75 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
The biggest unknown about Nicholas was how much precipitation he would produce in Texas, especially in flood-prone Houston.
Meteorologists say Nicholas will be a rainmaker. Eric Blake, senior specialist at the National Hurricane Center, predicts Nicholas will hammer parts of the middle and upper coast of Texas with 8 to 16 inches of rain, and isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches are possible through the middle of the week. In the rest of the coast from Texas to southwest Louisiana, 5 to 10 inches are expected.
“Life-threatening flash flood and urban flood impacts are possible, particularly in parts of the upper Texas Gulf Coast,” the hurricane center said.
Flooding rivers were also of concern.
In flood-prone Houston, officials feared heavy rains expected late Monday and early Tuesday could flood streets and flood homes. Authorities have deployed deep-sea rescue vehicles throughout the city and erected barricades at more than 40 locations that tend to be flooded, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
“This city is very resilient. We know what to do. We know how to prepare, ”said Turner, referring to four major floods that have hit the Houston area in recent years, including the devastating Harvey damage, which has flooded more than 150,000 homes in the Houston area.
Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo urged residents to stay off the roads Monday night to avoid risking their lives or the lives of first responders who may be called in to rescue them from the flooded roads.
“What I need every resident to do is get to where you need to be at 6 p.m. and stay there,” said Hidalgo, Harris County’s top elected official, who includes Houston. .
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Louisiana, where more than 100,000 homes and businesses remain without power two weeks after the devastation of Hurricane Ida, was in a state of emergency. In Texas, Houston could be hit with 8 to 12 inches of rain, and neighboring areas could see up to 24 inches, according to AccuWeather’s forecast.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said resources were deployed to Houston and along the state’s entire Gulf Coast before the storm.
“We urge you to listen to local weather warnings and heed local warnings from local authorities,” Abbott said. “Make sure you avoid flooding and the effects of flooding. And be careful.”
Nicholas is heading for the same area of Texas that was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. This storm made landfall in the middle of the Texas coast, then stalled for four days, dropping over 60 inches of rain. in parts of Southeast Texas. Harvey has been blamed for at least 68 deaths.
Schools close before the storm
A dozen public school systems near Galveston, Texas, closed for the day Monday, and schools in Galveston closed around noon. Several districts in the Houston area have closed or scheduled early exits. The Houston Independent School District tweeted that campuses and district offices would remain open on Monday – but would be closed on Tuesday.
Texas A&M University-Kingsville canceled classes and the school’s Corpus Christi campus switched to distance learning for the day. The University of Houston was open Monday but was monitoring forecasts of excessive precipitation and flooding. Status for Tuesday had not been determined, the school said.
The hurricane season has been among the most active
Nicholas is the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. Only four other years since 1966 have had 14 or more named storms as of September 12: 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2020.
The National Hurricane Center monitors two other systems in the Atlantic; There is an increasing chance that the systems will turn into tropical lows this week.
The next names for the Atlantic hurricane season 2021 will be Odette and Peter.
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Following the path of Tropical Storm Nicholas
Contribution: The Associated Press