After being downgraded from a tropical depression, Tropical Storm Nicholas continued to weaken Tuesday night. It slowed to a crawl in southeastern Texas as well as southwestern Louisiana. The storm drenched both states with torrential rains and was drenched with floodwaters.
Tuesday night’s downgrade was made on the same day that Nicholas, a Category 1 hurricane, blew onto the shores of half-million homes. He also poured more than a foot (30.5 cm) of rain in the same area as Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Forecasters stated that Nicholas could possibly stall over hurricane-battered Louisiana, causing life-threatening flooding across the Deep South in the coming days.
Nicholas arrived on Tuesday morning in the eastern Matagorda peninsula. He was quickly downgraded to tropical storm status. According to the National Hurricane Center, Miami, the storm’s center was located 15 miles (24.14 km) west-northwest of Port Arthur, Texas. Maximum winds were 35 mph (55 Kph) by 10 p.m. CT. Weather radar indicated that the worst rains were in southwestern Louisiana, far east of the storm center.
The storm is moving east at 6 mph (9 km/h) According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm could slow down or even stall. Although its winds will eventually subside, heavy rain and significant flash flooding risk will continue along the Gulf Coast over the next few days.
Galveston, Texas saw almost 14 inches (35 cmimeters), of rain from Nicholas, the 14th named hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane seasons. Houston, however, received more than 6 in (15 cmimeters). This is a fraction of the rain that fell during Harvey. It dumped more than 60 inches (152 centimeters), of rain on southeast Texas over a 4-day period.
Kirk Klaus (59) and Monica Klaus (62), a small coastal town about 65 miles (105 km) south of Houston, rode the storm in their two bedroom home that sits on stilts at 6-8 feet (61.8 to 2.4 metres) above the ground.
It was terrible. Kirk Klaus stated, “I won’t do it ever again.”
He stated that it had rained all day Monday, and that the winds and rain got worse as the night progressed.
Two of Klaus’ windows were blown out by strong winds Tuesday morning, forcing rain to pour in and forcing them to mop their floors every day. Klaus stated that the storm surge created by the rain and wind was approximately 2 feet from his home.
He said, “It looked almost like a river out there.”
Andrew Connor, 33-year-old Conroe resident, was not following the news from his family’s rented Surfside Beach vacation home and was not aware of the storm’s approaching until it hit. The storm surge surrounded the beach home with water. Connor considered using surfboards to transport his wife and six children higher in case the house floods.
Connor stated that although the sea did not make its way through the door of the vehicle, it did flood it.
He said, “When I lifted the hood, there was seaweed and beach toys in my engine.”
Meteorologists stated that Nicholas is moving slowly and will drop several inches of rain while it crawls across Texas and southern Louisiana. This includes areas that were already ravaged by Hurricane Ida and areas that were flooded by Hurricane Laura last year. Brian McNoldy, University of Miami hurricane researcher, stated that Louisiana is saturated and there is nowhere for water to flow. Therefore, Louisiana will flood.
McNoldy stated Tuesday that the storm was stuck in a weak environment. The storm may be weaker, but that won’t stop rain from occurring. It doesn’t matter if it’s tropical storm, tropical depression, or post-tropical, it will still rain a lot, which is not good news for the area.
According to poweroutage.us, which tracks utility reports, more than half a million homes and businesses lost power in Texas. However, that number fell below 200,000 late Tuesday afternoon. Officials from utility companies said that most of the outages were caused overnight by strong winds. About 89,000 Louisiana customers were without power Tuesday afternoon, mainly in areas affected by Hurricane Ida.
Nicholas brought rain to the area of Texas where Harvey had hit. This was the area that was responsible for at least 68 deaths. Voters approved $2.5 billion worth of bonds to finance flood-control projects. This included the widening bayous. There are 181 projects that were designed to reduce the damage caused by future storms. They are in different stages of completion.
McNoldy, the hurricane researcher said that Nicholas is bringing less rain than Harvey.
“It’s not excessive amounts of rain. McNoldy stated that it isn’t like Hurricane Harvey with its feet of rain. Harvey did not stall for three days in the same area. It also moved back into the Gulf of Mexico to replenish its water supply. McNoldy stated that Nicholas would not do this.
Nicholas is expected to become a tropical depression Tuesday night and could drop up to 20 inches (51 cm) of rain in southern Louisiana. According to forecasters, heavy rain could also be possible in southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and the western Florida Panhandle.
On Tuesday, heavy rains came from Nicholas and covered roofs across southern Louisiana that had been damaged by Ida.
Ida damaged one building and made holes in the roof at Motivatit Seafoods’ main plant. This family-run oyster wholesaler is located in Houma, Louisiana. Steven Voisin, the owner of Motivatit Seafoods, said that the rains from Nicholas were pounding on the high-pressure equipment used for processing oysters. He didn’t know if the machines could still be saved.
He said that many people living from New Orleans to here have suffered the same or worse damage. They won’t be able to recover quickly.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared an emergency on Sunday night ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irene in Louisiana.
Nic Hunter, Mayor of Lake Charles in Louisiana, said Monday that crews were cleaning out the drainage system to remove any debris that could clog it and cause flooding. He said that he is concerned about the residents’ mental health after multiple natural disasters within a short time.
The city, home to nearly 80,000 people, was severely damaged by Category 4 Hurricane Laura last year. The same area was hit by Hurricane Delta several weeks later. The city was hit by freezing temperatures in January, which burst the pipes. A May rainstorm also swamped homes and businesses. Many residents had to demolish their homes multiple times in one year.
“Considering what the people have experienced over the past 16 months in Lake Charles, it is understandable that they are depressed and emotional. People get scared whenever there is even the slightest hint of a weather emergency approaching,” he stated.