After blasting Texas, Nicholas brings flood threat to Louisiana
Nicholas intensified and made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane southwest of Galveston, Texas, early Tuesday, lashing the coastline with damaging winds, a dangerous storm surge and torrential downpours that have caused significant flooding.
The storm’s winds, which gusted up to 95 mph along the middleTexas coast, cut power to nearly 500,000 customers in the state, including more than 100,000 in Harris County, home to Houston.
The storm’s wrath is far from spent. As Nicholas lumbers into Louisiana as a tropical storm, the National Weather Service is warning of a high risk of heavy rainfall and flooding in the zone from near Beaumont, Texas, to Lake Charles, La., which was hit by two hurricanes last year. High risk days make up only 4% of forecasts issued by the Weather Service, but represent about 40% of flooding fatalities and 90% of financial losses caused by flooding.
Widespread rainfall of 5 to 10 inches is predicted from the upper Texas coast through central and southern Louisiana, and for far southern Mississippi and Alabama. Rainfall of up to 20 inches is possible in the hardest-hit areas as the storm slows to a crawl.
Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards on Monday afternoon requested a federal disaster declaration, which President Joe Biden approved Monday night, ordering federal assistance to supplement state and local emergency response efforts.
Some of the worst rainfall will occur in areas still recovering from Hurricane Ida’s catastrophic strike barely 21⁄2 weeks ago through Wednesday. Ida brought winds of over 150 mph to the Mississippi River Delta in coastal Louisiana, knocking out power to all of New Orleans. Nearly 100,000 customers in southeastern Louisiana, mainly west of New Orleans, remain without power, and the same areas are prone to flooding.