Tropical Storm Nicholas will spread its threat of flooding rain from southeast Texas into Louisiana and Mississippi the next couple of days after making landfall as a hurricane overnight.
Nicholas made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph at 1 a.m. CDT Tuesday about 20 miles northeast of Matagorda, Texas.
The center of Nicholas is now located near Houston. Moderate to heavy rain extends to the east of that center, from far southeast Texas into Louisiana and southern Mississippi.
More than 500,000 homes and businesses were without power in southeast Texas, including the Houston area, as of late Tuesday morning, according to poweroutage.us.
(MORE: Latest Updates on Impacts From Nicholas)
Winds gusts over 50 mph were clocked at Houston’s Hobby airport this morning. Deer Park, Texas, which is located just east of Houston, has the highest storm total rainfall so far with 9.85 inches
A storm surge of 3 to 4 feet above normal tide levels was observed this morning on the upper Texas coast, including around the Galveston Bay area.
(The icon shows the current location of the center of Nicholas.)
A tropical storm warning remains in effect from High Island, Texas, to Cameron, Louisiana, as well as some inland counties near the coast. Tropical-storm-force winds (39+ mph) are expected to diminish in these areas through this afternoon.
(A watch is issued when tropical storm or hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours. A warning is issued when those conditions are expected within 36 hours. )
Nicholas will weaken to a tropical depression as it gradually turns more to the east over eastern Texas and Louisiana through Wednesday and into Thursday.
(The red-shaded area denotes the potential path of the center of the tropical cyclone. It’s important to note that impacts (particularly heavy rain, high surf, coastal flooding, winds) with any tropical cyclone usually spread beyond its forecast path. )
The potential for major rainfall flooding will be the most widespread threat from Nicholas going forward.
Heavier rain will be concentrated mainly near and to the east of where the center of Nicholas tracks. This area of heavier rain will follow the track of Nicholas across eastern Texas and into Louisiana and Mississippi through early Thursday.
Nicholas could produce rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches (locally up to 20 inches) from the far upper Texas coastline to central and southern Louisiana, far southern Mississippi, far southern Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle, according to NOAA.
This includes areas still recovering from Hurricane Ida in southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi.
(This should be interpreted as a broad outlook of where the heaviest rain may fall and may shift based on the forecast path of the tropical system. Higher amounts may occur where bands of rain stall over a period of a few hours. )
Flash flood watches have been issued by the National Weather Service from extreme southeast Texas into all of southern Louisiana and far southern parts of Mississippi and Alabama. This includes Beaumont, Texas, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, Biloxi, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama.
Debris from Hurricane Ida blocking ditches and storm drains could increase the threat of flash flooding in southeast Louisiana, the NWS office in Slidell, Louisiana, tweeted Monday.
Do not drive through floodwaters of any depth and be sure to stay aware of the latest forecast and warning information if you live in a flood-prone location.
(MORE: Deadliest Year For Flooding Since 2017)
Onshore winds will lead to lingering storm surge impacts from parts of the Texas coast into southwest Louisiana.
Storm surge is predicted to be the following heights above normal tide levels if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide, according to the NHC.
-2 to 4 feet from Port Bolivar, Texas, to Cameron, Louisiana.
-1 to 3 feet in all other areas shaded green in the map below.
As often is the case with landfalling storms, a few tornadoes are possible in Nicholas’ rainbands, generally to the north and northeast of the center into Tuesday from the upper Texas coast into southern Louisiana.
Nicholas became the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season late Sunday morning over the southwest Gulf of Mexico.
Nicholas strengthened into the 6th hurricane of the season at 10 p.m. CDT Monday night. It made landfall just northeast of Matagorda Bay, Texas, about 3 hours later as a Category 1 with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.
The upgrade to hurricane strength was prompted by a WeatherFlow sensor at Matagorda Bay, Texas, recording sustained winds of 76 mph and a gust to 95 mph.
Several locations along the Texas coast have clocked wind gusts at least to 60 mph.
Port O’Connor, Texas, measured gusts up to 71 mph Monday evening, and water levels rose quickly, with 3 feet of inundation, according to a NOAA gauge.
Storm surge and rainfall flooding prompted the closure of the only road from Matagorda to Matagorda Beach, Texas.
Some minor areas of high water were reported on feeder roads adjacent to the Gulf Freeway (Interstate 45) in Galveston County, and on Broadway in the city of Galveston, according to the National Weather Service.
Flooding closed some roads earlier Monday in Corpus Christi.
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