Hurricane Nicholas has made landfall along the Texas coast.
The hurricane brings 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 Centre in Miami.
Nicholas is the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
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 governor Greg Abbott said authorities placed rescue teams and resources in the Houston area and along the coast.
In Houston, officials worried that heavy rain 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.
“This city is very resilient. We know what we need to do. We know about preparing,” said Mr Turner, referencing four major flood events that have hit the Houston area in recent years, including devastating damage from Harvey.
Numerous school districts along the Texas Gulf Coast cancelled classes on Monday because of the incoming storm. The Houston school district, the state’s largest, as well as others, announced that classes would be cancelled 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 south-east Texas and south-central Louisiana and southern Mississippi could see four to eight inches over the coming days.
Nicholas brought rain to the same area of Texas that was hit hard by Harvey. That storm made landfall in the middle Texas coast then stalled for four days, dropping more than 60 inches of rain in parts of south-east Texas.
Harvey was blamed for at least 68 deaths, including 36 in the Houston area.
Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Sunday night, ahead of the storm’s arrival in a state still recovering from Hurricane Ida and last year’s Hurricane Laura and historic flooding.
“The most severe threat to Louisiana is in the south-west portion of the state, where recovery from Hurricane Laura and the May flooding is ongoing,” Mr Edwards said.
The storm was expected to bring the heaviest rainfall west of where Ida slammed into Louisiana two weeks ago.
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