Nicholas strengthens to hurricane ahead of Texas landfall – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

HOUSTON (AP) – Nicholas intensified into a Category 1 hurricane on Monday as he headed for land along the Texas Gulf Coast and was expected to bring heavy rainfall and flooding to coastal areas from Mexico to storm-ravaged Louisiana.

Forecasters from the National Hurricane Center in Miami said the sustained peak winds hit 120 km / h a few hours before the expected landfall.

Although the system was expected to generate a fraction of the rain that Harvey did, a hurricane warning was issued for Port O’Connor to Freeport, as well as a hurricane watch from Freeport to the western tip of Galveston Island. A tropical storm warning has been issued for Port Aransas to Sabine Pass and a storm surge warning has been issued for Port Aransas to Sabine Pass, including Galveston, Aransas, San Antonio and Matagorda bays. A storm surge watch operates from Sabine Pass to Rutherford Beach, Louisiana.

An automated station in Matagorda Bay registered a sustained wind of 122 km / h with gusts of up to 153 km / h, reported the hurricane center.

In flood-prone Houston, officials feared heavy rains, expected late Monday and early Tuesday, could flood streets and flood homes. Authorities deployed flood rescue vehicles across the city and erected barricades in more than 40 locations prone to flooding, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

“This city is very resilient. We know what to do. We know how to prepare, ”said Turner, referring to four major flooding events that have occurred in the Houston area in recent years, including devastating Harvey damage that flooded more than 150,000 homes in the Houston area.

Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo urged local residents to avoid the streets on Monday evening to avoid their lives or the lives of first responders who may be called to save them from flooded streets.

“What I have to do with every resident is be where you need to be by 6:00 pm and stay there,” said Hidalgo, the senior elected official in Harris County, which includes Houston.

The Houston school district, the largest in the state, announced that classes on Tuesday will be canceled due to the coming storm. The weather threat also shut down several 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.

Late on Monday evening, just before landing on the mainland, Nicholas was about forty-five miles southwest of Freeport. The National Hurricane Center said the storm was moving north-northeast at a speed of 10 mph and was expected to continue on that path through the night, moving across the far southeast of Texas on Tuesday. Forecasters said they expected the storm to turn northeast more slowly by the end of Tuesday and even slower east on Wednesday than it was supposed to drift over southwest Louisiana.

15 to 30 centimeters of rain were expected along the central and upper Texas coast, with maximum isolated amounts of 46 centimeters possible. Other parts of southeast Texas and south-central Louisiana and south Mississippi could see 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) in the coming days.

“Listen to local weather warnings and heed local advice on what to do correctly and safely, and you will weather this storm just like many other storms,” ​​Abbott said during a press conference in Houston.

Nicholas was on his way to the same area of ​​Texas that was badly hit by Harvey. This storm reached the mainland, then stalled for four days, dropping more than six inches of rain in parts of southeast Texas. Harvey has been blamed for at least 68 deaths, including 36 in the Houston area.

According to Harvey, voters approved the issuance of $ 2.5 billion in bonds to fund flood control projects, including the bayous expansion. The 181 projects to mitigate future storms are in different stages of completion.

University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said he expected Nicholas “to be orders of magnitude less than Harvey in all respects.”

The main worry with Nicholas will be his speed. Storms have moved more slowly in recent decades, and Nicholas could get stuck between two other weather systems, said hurricane researcher Jim Kossin of the Climate Service.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Sunday evening before the storm hit a state still recovering from Hurricane Ida and last year’s Hurricane Laura and historic floods. The system was expected to bring the heaviest rainfall west of where Ida hit Louisiana two weeks ago.

Across Louisiana, nearly 120,000 customers were left without power as of Monday morning, according to utility tracking site poweroutage.us.

In Cameron Parish on the Louisiana coast, Scott Trahan was still finishing repairs to his home from Hurricane Laura, which brought about 2 feet of water into his home. He hopes to be ready by Christmas. He said many in his area have moved rather than rebuilding.

“If you get hit in the butt about four times, you won’t get up again. You’re going to go somewhere else, ”said Trahan.

Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said via Twitter that Nicholas is the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. There were 14 or more named storms in only four other years from 1966 through September 12: 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2020.

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