Hurricane Nicholas lands on the Texas coast: NPR
People protect their faces from the wind and sand from Tropical Storm Nicholas on Monday, September 13, 2021 on the North Packery Channel Jetty in Corpus Christi, Texas. Annie Rice / AP hide caption
Annie Rice / AP
Annie Rice / AP
HOUSTON (AP) – Hurricane Nicholas hit land along the Texas coast Tuesday, threatening parts of the Gulf Coast with up to 20 inches of rain, including the same area hit by Hurricane Harvey and storm-hit Louisiana in 2017.
Nicholas landed in the eastern portion of the Matagorda Peninsula, about 10 miles west of Sargent Beach, Texas, with maximum wind speeds of 75 miles per hour, 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 rainfall it would produce in Texas, particularly in flood-prone Houston.
Almost the entire coastline of the state was under a tropical storm warning that included potential flash floods and urban flooding. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said authorities have set up rescue teams and resources in the Houston area and along the coast.
In Houston, officials feared heavy rains expected by Tuesday could flood streets and flood homes. Authorities deployed flood rescue vehicles across the city and erected barricades in more than 40 locations prone to flooding, 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 flooding events that have struck the Houston area in recent years, including devastating damage from Harvey.
Numerous school districts along the Texas Gulf Coast canceled classes on Monday due to the upcoming storm. The Houston school district, the largest in the state, and others announced that classes will be canceled on Tuesday. The weather threat also shut down 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.
6 to 12 inches of rain was expected along the central and upper Texas coast, with isolated maximums of 18 inches being possible. Other parts of southeast Texas and south-central Louisiana and south Mississippi could see 4 to 8 inches in the coming days.
“Listen to local weather warnings and heed local advice on what to do correctly and safely, and you will weather this storm just like many other storms,” Abbott said during a press conference in Houston.
Nicholas brought rain to the same area of Texas that was badly hit by Harvey. This storm hit land on the central Texas coast, then stalled for four days, dropping more than 60 inches of rain in parts of southeast Texas. Harvey has been blamed for at least 68 deaths, including 36 in the Houston area.
According to Harvey, voters approved the issuance of $ 2.5 billion in bonds to fund flood control projects, including the bayous expansion. The 181 projects to mitigate future storms are in different stages of completion.
But University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said he expected Nicholas “to be orders of magnitude smaller than Harvey in all respects.”
Nicholas will worry about how slowly it moves. Storms have moved 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 Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Sunday evening before the storm hit a state still recovering from Hurricane Ida and last year’s Hurricane Laura and historic floods.
“The greatest threat to Louisiana is in the southwestern part of the state, where the recovery from Hurricane Laura and the May floods is underway,” said Edwards.
The storm was expected to bring the heaviest rainfall west of where Ida hit Louisiana two weeks ago.
Across Louisiana, nearly 120,000 customers were left without power on Monday morning, according to utility tracking site poweroutage.us.
While Lake Charles had minimal impact from Ida, the city saw multiple wallops in 2020 from Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta, a winter storm in February, and historic floods that spring.
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said the city takes the storm threat seriously, like all tropical systems.
“Hope and prayer are not a good plan,” said Hunter.
In Cameron Parish on the Louisiana coast, Scott Trahan was still finishing repairs to his home from Hurricane Laura, which brought about 2 feet of water into his home. He hopes to be ready by Christmas. He said many in his area have moved instead of rebuilding.
“If you get hit in the butt about four times, you won’t get up again. You’re going to go somewhere else, ”said Trahan.
Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said via Twitter that there have been 14 or more named storms since September 12, only four more years since 1966: 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2020.