Tropical Depression Nicholas is expected to unleash heavy rain across much of Louisiana on Wednesday, raising the risk of severe flooding in an area already battered by Hurricane Ida and still struggling to restore electricity to tens of thousands of customers.
Forecasters warned that the storm, which made landfall early Tuesday as a hurricane over the Gulf Coast of Texas, could also produce life-threatening flash floods in parts of the Deep South, dropping five to 10 inches of rain on southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle through Friday.
Up to 20 inches of rain is possible in isolated parts of those regions, the National Hurricane Center said.
The forecast has prompted weather-weary officials across the South to brace for another round of dangerous conditions.
In Mississippi, the state’s emergency management agency told residents how they could flee to higher ground if flooding occurs, underscoring the challenges of a hurricane season intensified by climate change.
“Take the threats from Nicholas very seriously,” Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana said at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.
About 95,000 customers remained without power
Nicholas is expected to weaken as it churns eastward, forecasters said. But the storm will still produce strong winds and driving rains, according to the hurricane center.
River flooding across parts of southern Louisiana and Mississippi was also possible, the center said.
In Texas, about 120,000 customers were without power early Wednesday morning, according to Poweroutage.us, a website that tracks and aggregates reports from utilities.
Houston residents were asked by the city’s police department to stay home because dangerous conditions, such as downed power lines and roadways cluttered with debris, were still present after the storm swept through the area with winds of 40 miles per hour.
Sgt. Derek Gaspard of the Galveston Police Department said the area was fortunate to have escaped the “worst-case scenario” on Tuesday.
“Still,” he said in an interview on Tuesday night, “it was a lot of rain.”