Tropical storm Nicholas has strengthened into a hurricane late Monday ahead of making landfall along the central Texas coast. Nicholas is the 14th named storm of the season. The storm is threatening the region with “life-threatening” rainfall, strong winds and storm surges. It was expected to produce 6 to 12 inches of rain across the Texas coast, with as much as 18 inches in isolated areas. That means also life-threatening flash flooding impacts. A mandatory evacuation has been issued for Quintana in Brazoria County in response. Officials across the Houston area have already told residents to plan to head somewhere safe indoors by sunset Monday. No evacuations have been issued for other areas. “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 storm’s center will move over southeastern Texas on Tuesday and early Wednesday, before reaching southwestern Louisiana later Wednesday, forecasters said. A hurricane warning is in effect from Port O’Connor to Freeport, Texas, and a storm surge warning is in effect from Sabine Pass to Rutherford Beach, Louisiana. In southeast Louisiana, more than 130,000 buildings are still without power after the devastation of Hurricane Ida.