Hurricane Nicholas made landfall on the Texas coast and parts of Louisiana before being downgraded to a tropical storm early Tuesday, bringing heavy rain and threats of flash flooding to the storm-battered region.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm was located about 30 miles south-southwest of Houston early Tuesday, with winds of up to 70 mph. The center of the storm is expected to continue moving over the southeastern portion of Texas and southwestern Louisiana into Wednesday.
Nicholas, which wasn’t initially forecasted to develop into a hurricane, did just that shortly before making landfall, though the intensity slightly decreased as it began to move inland.
Forecasters said Tuesday that “significant rainfall amounts" are expected, potentially resulting in areas of "life-threatening flash and urban flooding” across the region.
The center also warned of “life-threatening storm surge inundation along the coast of Texas,” from the areas of Sargent to Sabine Pass, and said tropical storm conditions are expected along the coasts of Texas and Louisiana throughout the day.
Initial reports from the National Weather Service showed the Texas coastal city of Galveston recorded close to 14 inches of rain and more than 6 inches in Houston.
In areas of central and southern Louisiana, the storm could bring up to 20 inches of rainfall.
Meteorologist Kent Prochazka told The Associated Press early Tuesday that some of the initial damage seen in the area included lost awnings at gas stations and downed trees.
The storm has also caused widespread power outages across the Gulf Coast, with nearly 328,000 customers without power in Texas early Tuesday, as well as more than 97,000 in Louisiana, according to poweroutage.us.
Texas Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottProposed Texas map adds two new congressional districts to Austin, Houston Texas surpasses 4 million COVID-19 cases threshold The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats stare down 'hell' week MORE (R) issued a disaster declaration Monday evening for 17 counties, telling residents in the area to "be prepared for extreme high water events."
Tropical Storm Nicholas is expected to bring heavy rain & potential flooding over the next three days.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) September 13, 2021
I issued a disaster declaration in 17 counties to ensure Texas has the resources needed to respond.
Follow guidance from local officials & stay safe, Texas. pic.twitter.com/uN7rXZLJYk
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) also announced Monday that he had requested a pre-landfall federal emergency declaration in a letter to President BidenJoe BidenFord to bolster electric vehicle production in multi-billion dollar push Protesters demonstrate outside Manchin's houseboat over opposition to reconciliation package Alabama eyes using pandemic relief funds on prison system MORE.
"Because of the heavy rainfall, flash flooding will be the greatest threat of this system," Edwards tweeted.
The storm comes just weeks after Hurricane Ida battered Louisiana exactly 16 years following Hurricane Katrina's devastating impact on the state.
Ida’s death toll in Louisiana reached 28 on Monday after the state Department of Health recorded two additional storm-related deaths in the Baton Rouge area.