According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Nicholas hit Texas in the southern United States this morning with winds of 120 kmph and is moving toward Houston.NHC)
As of the previous night, Nichols was a tropical storm, but gained strength during the night and became a Category 1 hurricane, moving to a Category 5, when it hit the Gulf Coast of the United States.
The NHC warned in its latest bulletin that the storm is “bringing heavy rain, strong winds and tornadoes to parts of the central and upper coast of Texas.” “This rain can cause significant flash floods,” says the center.
The report said that just before reaching the mainland, the focus of the storm was 30 km southeast of Matagorda in the Gulf of Mexico. The city is only a few miles from Houston, the largest city in Texas.
The NHC has issued a warning for much of the Gulf Coast, indicating “there is a risk of fatal flooding as waters rise inland from the coast.”
A hurricane warning has been issued for the population living in Freeport up to the San Luis Pass area. The locations of Port O’Connor, Sabine Pass, Galveston Bay and Matagorda Bay are threatened by a cyclonic tide, while a tropical storm is expected to reach Sabine Pass from Port Aransas to the north. At least 270,000 homes in Houston and another 40,000 in Houston County were lit. brazoria and parts of the county galveston.
“This is a life-threatening situation,” the center notes, warning people in the area to take “all necessary measures to protect life and property from floods and other potentially dangerous situations.”
The bulletin said Nichols is expected to move slowly into southeast Texas by Tuesday night and reach southwest Louisiana on Wednesday, a state still recovering from Hurricane Ida. The intensity of winds and rain should decrease progressively in the coming days as Nichols moves forward over land.
Houston flights canceled
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city was on high alert. “I urge everyone to stay off the roads at sunset and avoid driving until tonight as we are expecting heavy rain,” Turner posted on Twitter.
Officials put up barricades, activated Houston’s Office of Emergency Management and urged residents to take precautions.
The storm’s imminent arrival forced the cancellation of many flights at Houston-area airports. An agency spokesman said the shipping channel at the busy local port, which directs ships through the waterway, has also been closed.
Schools in the storm-hit area remained closed on Monday afternoon and will remain closed on Tuesday, officials said.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott urged residents of the state to follow local authority guidelines. Texans are used to tropical storms and tornadoes that are common in this region of the US, but scientists warn that climate change is accelerating these events and threatening coastal populations. The coast is prone to flooding, which was aggravated by sea level rise.
*With information from AFP and RFI