Tropical Storm Nicholas strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane late Monday night — just hours before it was expected to slam into the Texas coast and make landfall in the state.
The storm was packing sustained winds of 75 mph and is expected to drench portions of the middle and upper Texas coast with rains that could cause substantial flooding.
Shortly before midnight, Nicholas was located about 45 miles southwest of Freeport, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The hurricane was moving north-northeast at a clip of about 10 mph, but is expected to slow down over land — eventually making its way eastward toward southwestern Louisiana by about Wednesday, the NHC said.
Hurricane warnings are currently in effect from Port O’Connor to Freeport in Texas. Tropical storm and storm surge warnings were also issued for parts of the state.
Before the storm even made landfall, 50,000 customers in Texas were already without power, according to the utility tracking site poweroutage.us.
Six to 12 inches of rain were forecast along the middle and upper Texas coast. Isolated maximum amounts of 18 inches are possible.
Other sections of southeast Texas and south-central Louisiana and southern Mississippi could get 4 to 8 inches of rain in the coming days.
With Post wires