Nicholas, now tropical storm, dumps rain along Gulf Coast

Nicholas, now tropical storm, dumps rain along Gulf Coast

Nicholas, now tropical storm, dumps rain along Gulf Coast

HOUSTON — Tropical Storm Nicholas hit the Texas coast early Tuesday as a hurricane and dumped more than a foot of rain along the the same area swamped by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, drenching storm-battered Louisiana and bringing the potential for life-threatening flash floods across the Deep South.

Nicholas made landfall on the eastern part of the Matagorda Peninsula and was soon downgraded to a tropical storm. It was about 30 miles south-southwest of Houston, Texas, with maximum winds of 70 mph as of 4 a.m. CDT Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Nicholas was the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

The storm was moving north-northeast at 9 mph and the center of Nicholas was expected to move slowly over southeastern Texas on Tuesday and over southwestern Louisiana on Wednesday.

Galveston has received nearly 14 inches of rain with the storm while the flood-prone Houston area saw more than 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain, according to preliminary reports from the National Weather Service. Nicholas could dump up to 20 inches of rain in parts of central and southern Louisiana.

Nearly all of the coastline in Texas was under a tropical storm warning that included potential flash floods and urban flooding. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said authorities placed rescue teams and resources in the Houston area and along the coast.

In Houston, officials worried that heavy rain could inundate streets and flood homes. Authorities deployed high-water rescue vehicles throughout the city and erected barricades at more than 40 locations that tend to flood, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday.

Meteorologist Kent Prochazka of the National Weather Service told The Associated Press early Tuesday that Nicholas' winds downed trees in coastal counties and caused some gas stations to lose awnings.