More than 100,000 Texas homes and businesses went without power for a second day Wednesday as the remnants of Hurricane Nicholas slid across the Gulf Coast from Lone Star State to Louisiana, inundating a still shaky region from the wrath of Hurricane Ida less than three weeks ago.
Nicholas, downgraded to a tropical depression with sustained winds of 30 mph, was centered about 60 miles west of Lake Charles, Louisiana, early Tuesday. The storm was heading east at just 3 mph.
“Just because #Nicholas is a tropical storm and not a hurricane doesn’t mean we should take it lightly,” Gov. John Bel Edwards tweeted Tuesday night. “This storm has the potential to cause flash floods and river flooding statewide. Take this storm seriously and put yourself in a position to weather it safely.”
Nearly 80,000 utility customers remained without power in Louisiana, where the lights went out for more than a million homes and businesses during Ida’s peak of fury.
In Pointe-aux-Chenes, 70 miles southwest of Louisiana, Ida ripped off the tin roof from Terry and Patti Dardar’s house, leaving them without electricity or water. Nicholas’ rains have now soaked the top floor of their home – but it also provided much-needed water for the family, collected in jugs. They poured the water into a large plastic container through a colander, and a pump powered by a generator brought the water inside.
“We don’t have another place,” said Patti Dardar. “It’s our home.”
The National Weather Center has warned that Nicholas, who has already dumped more than a foot of rain in parts of Texas and several inches in parts of Louisiana, is expected to generate another 3 to 6 inches on Louisiana’s central Gulf Coast , Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle through Friday, with isolated additional 10-inch totals possible in some areas.
“Life-threatening flash flood impacts, especially in urban areas, are possible in these areas,” said Alex Lamers, meteorologist in charge of coordinating warnings for the National Weather Service.
Nicholas hits the Texas coast, but weakens in strength: ‘Life-threatening’ flash floods likely in the South
Tornado warnings were issued in parts of southern Louisiana early Wednesday. The storm is expected to gradually dissipate over central Louisiana on Thursday.
Hurricane Nicholas made landfall early Tuesday along the Matagorda Peninsula with torrential rains and a storm surge. The cleanup was in full swing in Texas, where more than 14 inches of rain fell in parts of the Galveston area. Houston was hit with 6 inches, and the city has set up cooling and phone charging centers in areas where the power outages have been prolonged.
Earlier, first responders joined members of the National Guard in rescuing people from flooded homes.
“Texas has deployed whitewater boats, helicopters and large-scale vehicles to assist local authorities in rescue efforts resulting from flooding and high winds,” Governor Greg Abbot said Tuesday. “Emergency shelters have been set up for residents who may be displaced.
Following:Ida is one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States. But it could have been worse.