Hurricane Nicholas weakened to a tropical storm on Tuesday after making landfall in Texas earlier in the day. That state and neighbouring Louisiana are now experiencing heavy rainfall. Bad weather threatens flooding and power cuts.
Nicholas made landfall just after midnight as a hurricane of the first and lightest category, with winds of 120 kilometres per hour. The power then decreased slightly. The storm will weaken; further, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) expects.
The storm is currently moving towards the northeast with wind speeds of up to 110 kilometres per hour. But, according to Texan Governor Greg Abbott, this is going slowly, which means that a lot of rain will fall in his state for days.
The NHC warns of possible flooding. These can be life-threatening, especially in eastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana. The centre expects the nuisance in southern and central Texas to be limited to heavy rainfall. Therefore, a storm warning has been issued for nearly the entire Texas coast.
The US state of Louisiana, immediately east of Texas, declared a state of emergency yesterday. At the beginning of this month, the state was hit by Hurricane Ida. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards fears Nicholas will disrupt recovery efforts after that hurricane.
A storm warning has also been issued along almost the entire coast of Texas. The NHC has measured wind speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour. Nicholas is expected to cause heavy rainfall, with possible flooding as a result.
In flood-prone Houston, authorities are concerned that the heavy rainfall will flood streets and homes. So they have deployed rescue vehicles throughout the city and erected barricades in flood-prone locations, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
“This city is very resilient. We know what to do. We know how to prepare,” Turner said, referring to four significant floods that have hit the Houston area in recent years. One was the devastating damage from Hurricane Harvey, which flooded more than 150,000 homes.