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Nicholas gets stronger, threatens to hit Texas as hurricane

HOUSTON

Tropical Storm Nicholas gathered strength Monday and threatened to blow ashore in Texas as a hurricane that would mention to twenty inches of rain to parts of the Gulf Coast , including an equivalent area hit by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and storm-battered Louisiana.

Although the system was expected to get only a fraction the maximum amount rain as Harvey, nearly all of the state’s coastline was under a tropical storm warning that included potential flash floods and concrete flooding. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said authorities placed rescue teams and resources within the Houston area and along the coast.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said the system’s top sustained winds were 70 mph (110 kph), nearly hurricane strength and a rise of 10 mph (16 kph) from earlier within the day. If the winds hit 74 mph (119 kph), the storm would become a Category 1 hurricane. it had been moving north-northeast at 12 mph (19 kph) and was predicted to form landfall late Monday night along the central Texas coast.

An automated station in Matagorda Bay registered a sustained wind of 55 mph (89 kph) with a gust of 71 mph (115 kph), the hurricane center reported.

In flood-prone Houston, officials worried that heavy rain expected to arrive late Monday and early Tuesday could inundate streets and flood homes. Authorities deployed high-water rescue vehicles throughout the town and erected barricades at quite 40 locations that tend to flood, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

“This city is extremely resilient. we all know what we’d like to try to to . we all know about preparing,” said Turner, referencing four major flood events that have hit the Houston area in recent years, including devastating damage from Harvey, which flooded quite 150,000 homes within the Houston area.

urner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo asked residents to remain off the roads Monday evening to avoid risking their lives or the lives of first responders who could be called to rescue them from flooded roadways.

“What i want each resident to try to to is get where you would like to be by 6 p.m. and stay there,” said Hidalgo, the highest official in Harris County, which incorporates Houston.

The Houston administrative district , the state’s largest, announced that classes would be canceled Tuesday due to the incoming storm. The weather threat also closed multiple COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites within the Houston and Corpus Christi areas, and made the cancellation of a Harry Styles concert scheduled for Monday evening in Houston.

At dusk Monday, Nicholas was centered roughly 35 miles (60 kilometers) south-southwest of Matagorda, Texas, and a hurricane watch was issued from Port Aransas to San Luis Pass.

Six to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain were expected along the center and upper Texas coast, with isolated maximum amounts of 18 inches (46 centimeters) possible. Other parts of southeast Texas and south-central Louisiana and southern Mississippi could see 4 to eight inches (10 to twenty centimeters) over the approaching days.

“Listen to local weather alerts and heed local advisories about the proper and safe thing to try to to , and you’ll make it through this storm a bit like you’ve had many other storms,” Abbott said during a press conference in Houston.

Nicholas was headed toward an equivalent area of Texas that was hit hard by Harvey. That storm made landfall, then stalled for four days, dropping quite 60 inches (152 cm) of rain in parts of southeast Texas. Harvey was blamed for a minimum of 68 deaths, including 36 within the Houston area.

After Harvey, voters approved the issuance of $2.5 billion fettered to fund flood-control projects, including the widening of bayous. The 181 projects designed to mitigate damage from future storms are at different stages of completion.

University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said he expects Nicholas to be “magnitudes but Harvey in every regard.”

The main worry with Nicholas are going to be its speed. Storms are moving slower in recent decades, and Nicholas could grind to a halt between two other weather systems, said hurricane researcher Jim Kossin of The Climate Service.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Sunday night, before the storm’s arrival during a state still recovering from Hurricane Ida and last year’s Hurricane Laura and historic flooding. The system was expected to bring the heaviest rainfall west of where Ida slammed into Louisiana fortnight ago.

Across Louisiana, almost 120,000 customers remained without power Monday morning, consistent with the utility tracking site poweroutage.us.

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

“If you get your butt whipped about fourfold , you’re not getting to revisit up again. you’re getting to go elsewhere ,” Trahan said.

Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said via Twitter that Nicholas is that the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. Only four other years since 1966 have had 14 or more named storms by Sept. 12: 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2020.

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