Gerald Herbert / AP
POINTE-AUX-CHENES, Louisiana (AP) – Nicholas weakened to a tropical depression as it crawled from Texas to southern Louisiana on Wednesday, triggering heavy rains over a landscape where Hurricane Ida destroyed thousands roofs now covered with fragile tarpaulins.
Forecasters said Nicholas would slow down to a stall over central Louisiana through Thursday, with plenty of water still to dump east of its center, inundating the Gulf Coast as far as l West Florida. Southeast Louisiana faced the greatest threat of flooding, and Governor John Bel Edwards warned people to take it seriously, even though Nicholas was no longer the hurricane that made landfall in Texas Tuesday.
“This is a very serious storm, especially in the areas that were so badly affected by Hurricane Ida,” Edwards said.
Forecasters have warned residents of the central Gulf Coast that up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) is possible through Friday in places in a region still recovering from Category 4 hurricanes – Ida a few ago weeks and Laura last year.
Galveston, Texas, recorded nearly 14 inches (35 centimeters) of rain from Nicholas, the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, while Houston reported more than 6 inches (15 centimeters). The New Orleans office of the National Weather Service said Tuesday evening that up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain could fall in parts of Louisiana, with some areas experiencing particularly intense periods of 2-3 inches (5 8 centimeters) of precipitation per hour.
In the small community of Pointe-aux-Chênes in Louisiana, Ida opened the tin roof of Terry and Patti Dardar’s house, leaving them without electricity or water for more than two weeks. Nicholas compounded the damage by soaking the floor. But he also provided them with much-needed water, which their son Terren and their grandchildren collected in jugs and poured into a huge plastic container through a colander. From there, a pump powered by a generator brought the water inside.
Her mother, Patti, said the family had nowhere to go after Ida, so the members were doing their best during Nicholas.
“We don’t have another place,” she said. “It’s our home.”
Chris Granger / AP
Governor Edwards noted that 95,000 electric customers were still without power more than two weeks after Ida’s coup. And he said the new storm could mean that some who had regained power could lose him again. Homes already badly damaged by Ida have yet to be repaired to the point where they can withstand heavy rains, Edwards added.
Energy companies working to restore power to the remaining areas of the state said Wednesday they were watching Nicholas closely but did not expect this to affect their restore times.
A spokesperson for Entergy Louisiana said Nicholas has so far not caused any delay to previously announced deadlines to restore power. Teams cannot operate when lightning is within 10 miles and cannot put bucket trucks in the air with winds above 50 km / h, Jerry Nappi said. But once conditions improved, they would quickly get back to work.
Joe Ticheli, director and CEO of the South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association, said the rain didn’t really stop the linemen, who are outfitted in smoother suits and sand.
“They are tough guys, and they relish it all,” he said. The cooperative serves approximately 21,000 clients in five parishes, including parts of the hard-hit parishes of Terrebonne and Lafourche. Ticheli said the co-op has returned power to about 75% of its customers, with the remaining 25% mostly located in the hardest-hit parts of the southern parish of Terrebonne.
In the weather-stricken town of Lake Charles in southwest Louisiana, Mayor Nic Hunter said before Nicholas that the town had pre-positioned assets when needed, and town crews scoured the area. drainage system to protect it from debris that can cause plugging and flooding.
Lake Charles was hammered. Hurricane Laura caused extensive structural damage in the city of nearly 80,000 people. A few weeks later, Hurricane Delta ravaged the same area. Frigid temperatures in January blew pipes across the city, then a rainstorm in May again inundated homes and businesses.
The mayor says he’s understandably worried about how his people are doing.
“With what people have been through for the past 16 months here in Lake Charles, they are very, naturally, discouraged, emotional. Anytime we even have a hint of an approaching weather event, people get scared.” , did he declare.