The National Hurricane Center said Nicholas weakened to a tropical storm shortly after coming ashore in south central Texas early Tuesday, bringing heavy rain, storm surge and winds that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses as it moved through the area.
PowerOutage.us, a website that monitors the U.S. power grid and utilities, reported that 515,000 customers lost power early Tuesday as the storm moved through southcentral Texas.
In a statement on its website, local utility CenterPoint Energy said it was assessing the damage and is already working to restore power to some areas. The utility supplies power to about 1.4 million customers in the Houston area.
At last report, the storm has winds of about 95 km per hour, making it a strong tropical storm. It continues to produce heavy rains, dropping anywhere from 12 to 24 centimeters as it moves on a northeasterly path outside Houston into the neighboring state of Louisiana later in the day.
Louisiana continues to recover from Hurricane Ida that hit there two weeks ago. Nicholas is expected to dump between 15 and 30 centimeters of rain in the region.
Forecasters say there is also the chance of “a tornado or two” along the upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coast through Tuesday morning.
The flood-prone city of Houston was swamped by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which dropped 152 centimeters of rain on the city over four days.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press.