Tropical Storm Nicholas is already leaving a trail of destruction across parts of Texas, bringing lashing rains and winds — while also threatening to unleash potentially deadly flash floods further along the Gulf Coast.
Nicholas made landfall in Texas’ Matagorda Peninsula, about 30 miles southwest of Houston, early Tuesday as a Category 1 hurricane before being downgraded to the tropical storm.
The storm, packing maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, has already caused widespread damage and flooding in the state’s southeast.
Video footage shows the roof of some CITGO gas-station pumps collapsing from strong winds.
Images have also emerged of 4-foot-high storm surges and widespread flooding in League City and Galveston.
Powerlines were brought down along the coast, too, and debris was scattered throughout Houston.
The storm has already knocked out power to more than 480,000 customers in Texas and over 93,000 in Louisiana, according to Poweroutage.US.
The National Hurricane Center has issued an advisory warning that the heavy rains could result in life-threatening flash floods across the Texas coast, Louisiana and southern Mississippi.
Nearly all of Texas’ coastline remains under a tropical-storm warning.
The storm was about 10 miles southeast of Houston with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Six to 12 inches of rain is expected on the middle and upper Texas coast, while parts of southeast Texas could see 4 to 8 inches in the coming days.
Galveston has already seen nearly 14 inches of rain from Nicholas, while Houston has reported more than 6 inches.
Forecasters expect the storm to weaken to a tropical depression by Tuesday night as it moves slowly over southeastern Texas and into southwestern Louisiana on Wednesday.
The National Weather Service warned a tornado or two may be possible Tuesday along the upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coasts.
Officials in Houston feared that heavy rain Tuesday could inundate streets and flood homes across the city.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said authorities have already deployed high-water rescue vehicles and erected barricades at more than 40 flood-prone locations.
With Post Wires