UNITED STATES: Tropical storm Nicholas has been weakened from a hurricane after making landfall on the Texas coast in the U.S. with heavy rain and the risk of life-threatening flooding.
Nicholas made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph at 1 a.m. CDT Tuesday about 20 miles northeast of Matagorda, Texas.
More than 500,000 homes and businesses were without power in southeast Texas, including the Houston area, as of late Tuesday morning, according to poweroutage.us.
The center of Nicholas is now located near Houston. Moderate to heavy rain extends to the east of that center, from far southeast Texas into Louisiana and southern Mississippi.
President Joe Biden has declared an emergency in Louisiana.
It comes just weeks after Hurricane Ida – the fifth strongest to ever hit the U.S. mainland – killed dozens and left more than a million Louisiana residents without power.
The US National Hurricane Centre said that Nicholas “has continued to move slowly inland and has weakened during the past few hours”.
But it warned that “life-threatening flash flooding impacts, especially in highly urbanised metropolitan areas, are possible”, and the National Weather Service called it a “life-threatening situation”.
“We want to make sure that no one is caught off guard by this storm,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards told a news conference.
He warned that drainage systems still clogged from Ida could trigger flash floods.
More than 119,000 homes and businesses remain without power in Louisiana due to Ida, he added.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared states of emergency in 17 counties and three cities.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner warned of flooding and urged the city’s roughly 2.3 million residents to stay off streets and motorways.
“Take things seriously and prepare,” Turner said at a news conference. “This is primarily a rain event and we don’t know how much rain we will be getting.”