Nicholas, now tropical storm, dumps rain along Gulf Coast

HOUSTON — Tropical Storm Nicholas hit the Texas coast early Tuesday as a hurricane forecast to dump up to 20 inches of rain along the same area swamped by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, drenching storm-battered Louisiana and potentially causing life-threatening flash floods across the Deep South.

Nicholas made landfall on the eastern part of the Matagorda Peninsula and was soon downgraded to a tropical storm. It was about 30 miles south-southwest of Houston, with maximum winds of 70 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Nicholas was the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

ExploreTUESDAY’S WEATHER-TRAFFIC: Rain returns ahead of Tropical Storm Nicholas

The storm was moving north-northeast at 9 mph, and the center of Nicholas was expected to move slowly over southeastern Texas on Tuesday and over southwestern Louisiana on Wednesday.

The biggest unknown about Nicholas was how much rainfall it would produce in Texas, especially in flood-prone Houston.

Nearly all of the state’s coastline was under a tropical storm warning that included potential flash floods and urban flooding. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said authorities placed rescue teams and resources in the Houston area and along the coast.

Credit: WSBTV Videos

In Houston, officials worried that heavy rain expected to arrive by Tuesday could inundate streets and flood homes. Authorities deployed high-water rescue vehicles throughout the city and erected barricades at more than 40 locations that tend to flood, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

"This city is very resilient. We know what we need to do. We know about preparing," said Turner, referencing four major flood events that have hit the Houston area in recent years, including devastating damage from Harvey.

Meteorologist Kent Prochazka of the National Weather Service told The Associated Press early Tuesday that multiple trees were down along coastal counties, the winds have caused some gas stations to lose awnings and the storm has caused extensive power outages.

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Tropical Storm Nicholas was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane after making landfall Tuesday morning along the Texas coast. It could bring rain to North Georgia by Wednesday afternoon, according to Channel 2 Action News.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Tropical Storm Nicholas was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane after making landfall Tuesday morning along the Texas coast. It could bring rain to North Georgia by Wednesday afternoon, according to Channel 2 Action News.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

caption arrowCaption
Tropical Storm Nicholas was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane after making landfall Tuesday morning along the Texas coast. It could bring rain to North Georgia by Wednesday afternoon, according to Channel 2 Action News.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

CenterPoint Energy reported that more than 300,000 customers lost power as the storm rolled through Houston and that it expected those numbers to rise. As of 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, more than 500,000 were without power in Texas, and about 100,000 were without electricity in Louisiana, according to poweroutage.us.

Numerous school districts along the Texas Gulf Coast canceled classes Monday because of the incoming storm. The Houston school district, the state’s largest, as well as others, announced that classes would be canceled Tuesday. The weather threat also closed multiple 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 were expected along the middle and upper Texas coast, 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 coming days.

A tornado or two may be possible Tuesday along the upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coast, according to the weather service.

“Listen to local weather alerts and heed local advisories about the right and safe thing to do, and you’ll make it through this storm just like you’ve had many other storms,” Abbott said during a news conference in Houston.