The Washington Post

Nicholas threatens to hit Texas as hurricane

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Tropical Storm Nicholas gathered strength Monday and threatened to blow ashore in Texas as a hurricane that could bring up to 20 inches of rain to parts of the Gulf Coast, including the same area hit by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and stormbatte­red Louisiana.

Although the system was expected to generate only a fraction as much rain as Harvey, 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 (R) said authoritie­s placed rescue teams and resources in the Houston area and along the coast.

Forecaster­s at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said the system’s top sustained winds reached 65 mph, an increase of 5 mph from earlier in the day. If the winds hit 74 mph, the storm would become a Category 1 hurricane. It was moving northeast at 12 mph and was predicted to make landfall in the evening along the central Texas coast.

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

Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo asked residents to stay off the roads Monday evening to avoid risking their lives or the lives of first responders who might be called to rescue them.

The Houston school district, the state’s largest, announced that classes would be canceled Tuesday because of the storm. The weather threat also closed multiple coronaviru­s 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.

On Monday afternoon, Nicholas was centered roughly 70 miles south of Port O’connor, Tex., and 85 miles southwest of Matagorda, Tex. A hurricane watch was issued from Port Aransas to San Luis Pass.

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 southcentr­al Louisiana and southern Mississipp­i could see four to eight inches over the coming days.

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