Annie Rice / AP
HOUSTON (AP) – Hurricane Nicholas made landfall along the Texas coast on Tuesday, threatening to rain up to 20 inches in parts of the Gulf Coast, including the same area affected by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Louisiana, which suffered storms.
Nicholas touched in the eastern part of the Matagorda Peninsula, about 10 miles west to southwest of Sargent Beach, Texas, with maximum winds of 75 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Nicholas was the 14th storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
The biggest unknown about Nicholas was the amount of rainfall it would produce in Texas, especially in Houston with flooding.
Almost the entire coast of the state was under a tropical storm warning that included potential flooding and urban flooding. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said authorities placed rescue equipment and resources in the Houston area and along the coast.
In Houston, officials were worried that heavy rains expected to arrive on Tuesday could flood streets and flood homes. Authorities deployed high-water rescue vehicles across the city and erected barricades at more than 40 sites that tend to flood, said Mayor Sylvester Turner.
“This city is very resilient. We know what we need to do. We know how to prepare,” Turner said, referring to four major flood events that have affected the Houston area in recent years, including the devastating damage of Houston. Harvey.
Numerous school districts on the Texas Gulf Coast canceled classes Monday due to the incoming storm. The school district of Houston, the largest in the state, and others, announced that classes would be canceled on Tuesday. The weather threat 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 evening in Houston.
Six to 12 inches of rain was expected on the middle and upper coast of Texas, with isolated maximum amounts of 18 inches possible. Other parts of southeast Texas and south-central Louisiana and southern Mississippi could see 4 to 8 inches over the next few days.
“Listen to local weather alerts and be aware of local warnings about the right and safe things you can do, and you’ll be able to weather this storm just like you’ve had many other storms,” Abbott said during a press conference in Houston.
Nicholas brought the rain to the same area of Texas that was hit hard by Harvey. That storm hit land on the mid-Texas coast and stagnated for four days, dropping more than 60 inches of rain in parts of southeast Texas. Harvey was charged with at least 68 deaths, including 36 in the Houston area.
After Harvey, voters approved the issuance of $ 2.5 billion in bonds to fund flood control projects, including the expansion of bayous. The 181 projects designed to mitigate future storm damage are in various stages of completion.
But University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said he expects Nicholas to be “less than Harvey in every way.”
The concern with Nicholas will be the slow moving. Storms are moving more slowly in recent decades and Nicholas could get stuck between two other weather systems, said hurricane researcher Jim Kossin of The Climate Service.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Sunday night, ahead of the storm’s arrival in a state still recovering from Hurricane Ida and Hurricane Laura last year and the historic floods.
“The most serious threat to Louisiana is in the southwestern part of the state, where the recovery from Hurricane Laura and the May floods is underway,” Edwards said.
The storm was expected to cause the heaviest rainfall west of where Ida crashed into Louisiana two weeks ago.
Across Louisiana, nearly 120,000 customers ran out of electricity Monday morning, according to utility site poweroutage.us.
Although Lake Charles received minimal impact from Ida, the city saw several walls from Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta in 2020, a winter storm in February, and historic flooding this spring.
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said the city takes the threat of the storm seriously, as do all tropical systems.
“Hope and prayer are not a good game plan,” Hunter said.
In Cameron Parish, off the coast of Louisiana, Scott Trahan was still finishing repairing his home from Hurricane Laura, which put about 2 feet of water in his home. He hopes to end Christmas. He said many in his area have moved instead of rebuilding them.
“If they get hit once about four times, you won’t go up again. You’ll 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 storms named on Sept. 12: 2005, 2011, 2012, and 2020.