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Friday, January 27, 2023

Nicholas strengthens hurricane before making landfall in Texas

Author: JUAN A. LOZANO

HOUSTON (Associated Press)-Nicholas intensified into a Category 1 hurricane when it made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast on Monday, and is expected to bring heavy rain and flooding from Mexico to the storm-hit coastal areas of Louisiana.

Forecasters at the Miami National Hurricane Center stated that the highest sustained wind speed reached 75 mph (120 km/h) a few hours before the expected landfall.

Although the system is expected to produce only a fraction of Harvey’s rainfall, the hurricane warning from Port O’Connor to Freeport and the hurricane observation from Freeport to the western end of Galveston Island. Tropical storm warnings from Port Aransas to Sabine Pass and storm surge warnings from Port Aransas to Sabine Pass, including Galveston, Aransas, San Antonio and Matagorda Bay. From Sabine Pass to Rutherford Beach, Louisiana, storm surge monitoring is in effect.

According to the Hurricane Center, an automated station in Matagorda Bay recorded sustained wind speeds of 76 mph (122 km/h) and gusts of 95 mph (153 km/h). According to data from the utility tracking website poweroutage.us, approximately 50,000 customers in Texas lost power on Monday night.

In Houston, which is vulnerable to flooding, officials worry that the heavy rain expected to arrive later on Monday and early Tuesday may flood streets and houses. Mayor Sylvester Turner said that authorities have deployed high-water rescue vehicles throughout the city and set up roadblocks in more than 40 flood-prone locations.

“The city is very resilient. We know what we need to do. We know to be prepared,” Turner said, referring to the four major floods that have hit the Houston area in recent years, including devastating damage caused by Harvey. , More than 150,000 houses in the Houston area were flooded.

Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo asked residents to stay away from the road on Monday night to avoid endangering their lives or the lives of first responders who might be called to the flooded road rescue.

“What I need every resident to do is get where you need to go by 6 pm and stay there,” said Hidalgo, the highest elected official in Harris County, which includes Houston.

The state’s largest school district in Houston announced that Tuesday’s classes will be cancelled due to the upcoming storm. The weather threat also closed multiple COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites in Houston and Corpus Christi, and forced the cancellation of the Harry Styles concert scheduled for Monday night in Houston.

On Monday night, shortly before landing, Nicholas’ center was about 45 miles (75 kilometers) southwest of Freeport. The National Hurricane Center said that the storm is moving north-northeast at a speed of nearly 10 mph (17 km/h) and is expected to continue along this path at night, over southeastern Texas on Tuesday move. Forecasters said they expect the storm to turn to the northeast at a slower rate later on Tuesday, move more slowly eastward on Wednesday, and are expected to drift across southwestern Louisiana by then.

6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) of rain is expected on the central and upper coast of Texas, and the maximum isolated rainfall may reach 18 inches (46 cm). In the next few days, 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain may be expected in southeastern Texas, south-central Louisiana, and other areas of southern Mississippi.

“Listen to local weather warnings and listen to local advice on correct and safe advice, and you will weather this storm like you have experienced many other storms,” ​​Abbott said at a press conference in Houston.

Nicholas is heading to the same area in Texas where Harvey was hit hard. The storm made landfall and then stagnated for four days, with more than 60 inches (152 cm) of rainfall in parts of southeastern Texas. Harvey was accused of causing at least 68 deaths, of which 36 were in the Houston area.

After Harvey, voters approved the issuance of US$2.5 billion in bonds to fund flood prevention projects, including the expansion of the estuary. 181 projects aimed at mitigating damage from future storms are in various stages of completion.

Brian McNaughty, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, said he expected Nicholas to be “smaller than Harvey in every way.”

Nicholas’ main concern is its speed. Jim Cosin, a hurricane researcher for Climate Services, said that in recent decades, the speed of storms has slowed and Nicholas may be stuck between the other two weather systems.

Louisiana Governor John Bell Edwards declared a state of emergency on Sunday night. Before the storm arrived, the state was still recovering from Hurricane Ida and last year’s Hurricane Laura and historic floods. The system is expected to bring the heaviest rainfall to Ida’s impact west of Louisiana two weeks ago.

According to data from poweroutage.us, in Louisiana, nearly 120,000 customers still had power outages on Monday morning.

In Cameron Parish on the coast of Louisiana, Scott Trahan is still completing the repairs to his home by Hurricane Laura, which caused water to accumulate about 2 feet in his house. He hopes to finish it before Christmas. He said that many people in his area have moved instead of rebuilding.

“If your ass is whipped four times, you won’t stand up again. You have to go somewhere else,” Trahan said.

Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University, said via Twitter that Nicholas is the 14th named storm in the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. By September 12: In 2005, 2011, 2012, and 2020, there have been 14 or more named storms in only four years since 1966.

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Associated Press writer Gilbride in Little Rock, Arkansas, Seth Borenstein in Washington and Terry Wallace in Dallas contributed to this report.

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Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70

World Nation News Desk
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