The storm is dumping heavy rain across southern Louisiana, the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Florida.
Storm Nicholas has weakened to a tropical depression as it moved from Texas to southern Louisiana on Wednesday, unleashing heavy rains on a landscape where Hurricane Ida recently destroyed thousands of rooftops, now covered with flimsy tarps.
Forecasters said Nicholas would slow to a stop in central Louisiana through Thursday, with a lot of water yet to discharge east of its center, soaking the Gulf Coast as far west as the Florida Panhandle.
Nicholas’s damage comes just two weeks after Hurricane Ida killed more than 80 people in at least eight US states and devastated communities on the Louisiana coast near New Orleans.
In a tweet, the National Hurricane Center said “life-threatening flash floods” will remain a threat for the next two days.
Southeastern Louisiana faced the greatest flood threat, and Governor John Bel Edwards warned people to take it seriously, even though Nicholas was no longer the hurricane that made landfall in Texas on Tuesday.
“This is a very serious storm, particularly in those areas that were so heavily impacted by Hurricane Ida,” Edwards said.
Governor Edwards noted that 95,000 power customers were still without power more than two weeks after the Ida attack. And he said the new storm could mean that some who had regained power could lose it again. Homes already severely damaged by Ida have yet to be repaired to the extent that they could withstand the heavy rains, Edwards added.
Tropical depression # Nicholas Warning 14: Nicholas crawling through extreme southwestern Louisiana. Life-threatening flash floods remain a possibility in parts of the central Gulf Coast for days to come. https://t.co/VqHn0uj6EM
– National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 15, 2021
Power companies working to restore power to the remaining areas of the state said Wednesday they were watching Nicholas closely, but did not expect this to affect their restoration times.
Forecasters warned people along the central Gulf Coast that it is possible to reach up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) through Friday in places in a region that are still recovering from Category 4 hurricanes: Ida weeks ago and Laura last year.
Galveston, Texas, recorded nearly 14 inches (35 cm) of rain from Nicholas, the fourteenth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, while Houston reported more than six inches (15 cm).
The New Orleans office of the National Weather Service said Tuesday night that up to 25 centimeters (10 inches) of rain could fall in parts of Louisiana, with some areas experiencing particularly intense periods of five to eight centimeters (two to three inches). of rain. an hour.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared states of emergency in 17 counties and three cities, putting rescue teams in boats and helicopters on standby.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said no injuries or deaths were reported in the city, where crews were clearing debris and restoring power. “It could have been much, much worse,” he said.
The Houston Independent School District and dozens of schools in Texas and Louisiana canceled classes.
Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed at Corpus Christi and Houston, Texas airports.
President Joe Biden declared an emergency for Louisiana and ordered federal assistance for local first responders due to the effects of Nicholas, the White House said Monday.