Annie Rice / AP
HOUSTON (AP) – Hurricane Nicholas made landfall along the Texas coast on Tuesday, bringing up to 20 inches of rain over parts of the Gulf of Mexico coast, including the same area affected by the Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and storm-stricken Louisiana.
Nicholas landed in the eastern part of the Matagorda Peninsula, about 10 miles west-southwest of Sargent Beach, Texas, with maximum winds of 120 km / h, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Nicholas was the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
The biggest unknown about Nicholas was how much precipitation he would produce in Texas, especially in flood-prone Houston.
Almost all of the state’s coastline was subject to a tropical storm warning that included flash floods and potential urban flooding. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said authorities had placed relief teams and resources in the Houston area and along the coast.
In Houston, officials feared heavy rains expected 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 we need 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 damage to Harvey. .
Many school districts along the Texas Gulf Coast canceled classes Monday due to the storm. The Houston School District, the state’s largest, along with others, said classes would be canceled on Tuesday. The weather threat has also closed several COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites in the Houston and Corpus Christi areas and forced the cancellation of a Harry Styles concert scheduled for Monday night in Houston.
Six to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain was expected along the middle and upper Texas coast, with isolated maximum amounts of 18 inches (46 centimeters) possible. Other parts of southeast Texas and south-central Louisiana and southern Mississippi could see 10 to 20 centimeters (4 to 8 inches) over the next few days.
“Listen to local weather alerts and heed local advisories on the right thing to do safely, and you’ll weather this storm like you’ve had many others,” Abbott said at a press conference in Houston.
Nicholas brought rain to the same area of Texas that was hit hard by Harvey. 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 southeastern Texas. Harvey has been blamed for at least 68 deaths, including 36 in the Houston area.
After Harvey, voters approved the issuance of $ 2.5 billion of bonds to fund flood-fighting projects, including bayous expansion. The 181 projects designed to mitigate damage from future storms are at various stages of completion.
But University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said he expects Nicholas “to have lower magnitude than Harvey in all respects.”
The concern with Nicholas will be how slowly he moves. Storms have moved more slowly in recent decades and Nicholas could find himself stuck between two other weather systems, said hurricane researcher Jim Kossin of the Climate Service.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Sunday evening, ahead of the storm arriving in a state still recovering from Hurricane Ida and Hurricane Laura of the Year last 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 continues,” Edwards said.
The storm was expected to bring the heaviest precipitation west of where Ida hit Louisiana two weeks ago.
Across Louisiana, nearly 120,000 customers were left without power Monday morning, according to utility tracking site poweroutage.us.
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.
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said the city is taking the threat of the storm seriously, as it does for all tropical systems.
“Hope and prayer are not a good game plan,” Hunter said.
In Cameron Parish on the Louisiana coast, Scott Trahan was still finishing repairs to his home after Hurricane Laura, 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.
Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said via Twitter that only four more years since 1966 have had 14 or more named storms as of September 12: 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2020.