Tropical Storm Nicholas made landfall in Texas and parts of Louisiana on Tuesday morning, bringing torrential rain, power outages, the potential of flash floods, and storm surges as it proceeded inland from the Gulf Coast.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Nicholas developed to a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall overnight on the eastern section of Texas’ Matagorda Peninsula with 75 mph winds and the potential for up to 18 inches of rain.
It was downgraded to a tropical storm around 5 a.m. ET Tuesday, but the National Hurricane Center said it still had the potential to generate “life-threatening flash floods in the deep south in the coming days.”
Harris County, which includes Houston and is one of the country’s most populous counties was ready for heavy rain and disruption, with flood warnings issued in the county’s southeast.
The same flash flood warning was issued for sections of Brazoria, Chambers, and Galveston counties, where heavy rain fell overnight.
The National Weather Service issued a storm surge warning for the Texas coastline from Sergent to Sabine Pass, including Galveston Bay, early Tuesday. According to poweroutage.us, more than 320,000 customers in Texas and 95,000 in Louisiana were without power shortly after 4 a.m. ET.
Officials in Houston, where many flights were canceled, had earlier urged everyone to leave the streets by nightfall.
The pop sensation Harry Styles canceled his scheduled concert at Houston’s Toyota Center on Monday night, citing the storm’s severity, according to Mayor Sylvester Turner. Because of the weather, the Houston school district has canceled classes on Tuesday. Early Tuesday, hurricane warnings were in effect from Port O’Connor to Freeport, which is located on the coast south of Galveston, while a hurricane watch was in effect from San Luis Pass to Port O’Connor.
Tropical storm warnings were in the effect from north of Port Aransas to Port O’Connor, as well as from Freeport to the Louisiana border, with a storm surge warning from Port O’Connor to Louisiana.
Under the heaviest rain bands, rainfall rates might reach 3 to 4 inches per hour. Infrastructure is unable to cope with such high rainfall rates, which would very certainly result in catastrophic flash flooding, particularly in metropolitan areas.