Tropical Storm Nicholas could turn into a hurricane before making landfall along the central Texas coast on Monday evening, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm threatens the region with “potentially fatal” rainfall, with millions of residents on flash flood warning.
As of Monday afternoon, Nicholas was 70 miles south of Port O’Connor, Texas with maximum winds of 65 mph, the hurricane center said. The storm could produce 6 to 12 inches, including 18 inches in isolated areas on the Texas coast.
Forecasters have said “potentially fatal” flash floods are possible along the upper Texas coast and southwest Louisiana. They said southeast Texas, southern Louisiana and southern Mississippi could see 4 to 8 inches of rain. Hurricane watch is currently in effect from Port Aransas to San Luis Pass, Texas.
“It seems whenever we have heavy rain in the Houston area there are people driving in high water and they sometimes lose their vehicles and worse yet, their lives,” Governor Greg Abbott said Monday. .
The Gulf Coast is still recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Ida. In southeast Louisiana, more than 130,000 buildings are still without power, officials said on Sunday. Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency and is urging residents to prepare for possible flooding and heavy rains.
“One of the things we have to guard against is dismissing the threat of this storm because it is not currently expected to reach hurricane status,” Edwards said.
Nicholas is the 14th named storm of the season, a number typically hit later in mid-November.