Hurricane Nicholas made landfall along the Texas coast on Tuesday, bringing the threat of up to 20 inches of rainfall to parts of the Gulf Coast, including the same area hit by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and storm-battered Louisiana. Nicholas touched down on the eastern part of the Matagorda Peninsula, about 10 miles west southwest of Sargent Beach, Texas, with maximum winds of 75mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Nicholas was the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, the AP reports. 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. 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. 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 on 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. One worry with Nicholas will be how slowly it moves. Storms are moving slower in recent decades, and Nicholas could get stuck between two other weather systems, said hurricane researcher Jim Kossin of the Climate Service.
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