Tropical Storm Nicholas could strengthen into a hurricane before it makes landfall along the central Texas coast Monday evening, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm is threatening the region with “life-threatening” rainfall, with millions of residents under flash flood warnings.
As of Monday afternoon, Nicholas was 70 miles south of Port O’Connor, Texas, with maximum winds of 65 mph, the hurricane center said. The storm could produce 6 to 12 inches, with 18 inches in isolated areas, across the Texas coast.
Forecasters said “life-threatening” flash flooding is possible along the upper Texas coast and southwestern Louisiana. They said southeast Texas, southern Louisiana and southern Mississippi could see 4 to 8 inches of rain. A hurricane watch is currently in effect for Port Aransas to San Luis Pass, Texas.
“There are people who do drive into high water and they sometimes lose their vehicles and even worse sometimes lose their lives,” Governor Greg Abbott said Monday.
The Gulf Coast is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Ida. In southeast Louisiana, more than 130,000 buildings are still without power, officials said Sunday. Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency and is urging residents to prepare for possible flooding and heavy rain.
“One of the things we have to guard against is dismissing the threat of this storm because it is not projected currently to reach hurricane strength before it makes landfall,” Edwards said.
Nicholas is the 14th named storm of the season, a number usually hit later in mid-November.