Hurricane Nicholas threatens the US

Hurricane Nicholas is forecast to bring storm surge and intense rain, posing a risk of widespread flooding for Louisiana and the Texas Gulf Coast.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on September 13 that Nicholas had winds of 104 km/h, traveling at more than 19 km/h and was about 115 km south of Texas. The NHC forecast Nicholas could reach super typhoon status as it makes landfall on the south or central Texas coast.

“It was a very slow-moving storm across Texas, lasting several days and causing heavy rainfall. People in the area need to prepare for high water,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said.

Abbott said it would declare a state of emergency in 17 counties and three coastal Texas cities, with rescue teams with boats and helicopters either deployed or on standby.

Hurricane Nicholas over the Gulf of Mexico on September 12.  Photo: NOAA.

Hurricane Nicholas over the Gulf of Mexico on September 12. Photo: NOAA.

Hurricane Nicholas could bring up to 406 mm of rain and up to 508 mm in some isolated areas on September 15. As it moves northeast, it could bring up to 254 mm of rain in south-central Louisiana and southern Mississippi through September 16.

The NHC issued storm, high tide and flood warnings, monitoring the entire affected area and calling it a “life-threatening situation”.

Nicholas is the second hurricane in the past few weeks to threaten US states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Ida made landfall in the United States in late August, devastating communities near New Orleans, Louisiana, killing more than 20 people.

“We want to make sure that no one is caught off guard by this storm. Heavy rainfall is a primary concern,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said at a press conference on September 13.

Edwards warned that the state’s drainage systems remain clogged with debris after Ida and several other storms made landfall recently, which could fail to handle the rainfall and cause flash flooding.

Hurricane Nicholas could cause power outages and impede efforts to restore supply. More than 119,000 homes and businesses in Louisiana are still without electricity.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged the city’s 2.3 million residents to stay home from the evening of September 13. Areas in the city of Houston are expected to receive 20 centimeters or more of rain. “Be serious and be prepared for anything,” says Turner. “It’s mostly a rainstorm and we don’t know how much rain we’re going to get.”

Forecast the direction and area of ​​influence of Hurricane Nicholas.  Graphics: Google.

Forecast the direction and area of ​​influence of Hurricane Nicholas. Graphics: Google.

Houston, America’s fourth-most populous city, was devastated in 2017 when Hurricane Harvey made landfall, sending more than a meter of rain in some areas and killing more than 100 people.

The Houston Independent School District canceled classes on September 14, and dozens of school districts in Texas and Louisiana closed on September 13. The Houston METRO suspended metro rail and bus services, and hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed at airports in Corpus Christi and Houston.

Hurricane Nicholas caused waves nearly 3.7 meters high in an area off the city of Port Aransas, near Corpus Christi, Texas. Nueces County, which includes the city of Corpus Christi, issued a disaster declaration on September 13, saying the community was threatened and expected to suffer loss of life or property from the upcoming storm.

Nguyen Tien (Follow Reuters)

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