A crawling Tropical Depression Nicholas is threatening to bring dangerous flash flooding along the central Gulf coast over the next few days — including in Louisiana, which still is staggering from the devastation of last month’s Hurricane Ida.
Nicholas was dropping heavy rain Wednesday morning in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle after making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane early Tuesday in Texas.
Centered in southwest Louisiana and moving at only 5 mph late Wednesday morning, Nicholas was set to keep raining on those same places potentially into Friday.
About 3 to 6 more inches of rain could fall across south-central and southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle from Wednesday through Friday, the US Weather Prediction Center said.
That’s on top of the 2 to 5 inches that this storm dumped on southern Louisiana before Wednesday.
“Life-threatening flash flooding impacts, especially in urban areas, remain a possibility” along the central Gulf Coast, the prediction center said.
Flash flood watches were in effect Wednesday morning along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana — including the New Orleans area — to the Florida Panhandle.
Louisiana has not yet fully restored power after Ida, a Category 4 storm, made landfall on August 29. New Orleans still was working to clear excess trash from the Ida, with about a third to go, city spokesman Beau Tidwell said Tuesday.
Power restoration efforts in Louisiana have been ongoing, but Nicholas could set back progress, an electricity provider said.
“Heavy rainfall and strong winds will be the main impacts across east Texas and southwest Louisiana,” Entergy Louisiana warned Tuesday.
The company had restored power to 91% of its customers in Louisiana and Mississippi, with full restoration in the areas that bore the brunt of Ida’s floodwaters expected September 29, it said. As of late Wednesday morning, more than 76,000 homes and businesses were without power in Louisiana, according to PowerOutage.us
Ida and the conditions that followed are blamed for at least 29 deaths in Louisiana, with the latest fatality announced Tuesday by Gov. John Bel Edwards. Excessive heat is responsible for 13 deaths, while six people died from carbon monoxide poisoning, he said.
Houstonians warned to stay home amid Nicholas
Texans were cleaning up after Nicholas came ashore with 75-mph winds early Tuesday near the eastern part of the Matagorda Peninsula, about 10 miles west-southwest of Sargent Beach, Texas.
Nicholas drenched Houston, dumping more than 6 inches of rain since Sunday, the National Weather Service said. Nearly 10 inches of rain fell in Deer Park, Texas. As of Wednesday morning, more than 112,000 Texas homes and businesses were in the dark, according to PowerOutage.us.
After the heavy rain, Houston officials asked residents to stay home Tuesday night as cleanup and power restoration efforts are underway.
“Dangerous conditions still exist and Houstonians are asked to stay home tonight,” city officials said in a news release. “Power outages mean some streetlights and traffic signals remain out and downed powerlines may be on the road and hard to see in the dark.”
All Port Houston terminals were expected to return Wednesday to a normal schedule after closing Tuesday, according to its Twitter account. Flights also were back to normal Wednesday after more than 340 into or out of Houston’s William P. Hobby and George Bush Intercontinental airports were canceled Tuesday, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.
Bart Stanley’s family has owned Stanley’s General Store in Matagorda, Texas, since 1964. The storm ripped the canopy off the gas station part of the store, causing the worst damage he’s seen in all that time.
“I came down here to get our store open so that people could get coffee and gas and whatever else they need because there’s no place else for like 30 miles away,” he said.
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