According to the National Hurricane Center, residents along the coast from Port Aransas to Port O’Connor are facing a life-threatening storm surge up to 5 feet as Nicholas presses down.
The storm hit near the eastern part of the Matagorda Peninsula, about 10 miles west-southwest of Sargent Beach, Texas, around 1:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, with winds of 75 mph.
A few hours after landing, it was downgraded to a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph.
The Houston area was devastated four years ago by Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm that claimed the lives of 68 people, the highest number of hurricane victims in the state since 1919.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a declaration of emergency on Monday, warning residents to prepare for Nicholas as a “significant aquatic event.”
People need to be prepared for “extreme flooding, including flooding and potential damage from precipitation,” Abbott said, adding that the system could also cause tornadoes.
The storm is expected to move over southeastern Texas later Tuesday before heading to southwestern Louisiana later Wednesday, where it is expected to weaken, the hurricane center said.
The state braces for a heavy downpour
In Houston, city officials and first responders braced for significant amounts of rain and wind.
“We expect 4-7 inches of rain overnight as well as wind, which could lead to power outages,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Schools in the Houston Independent School District and Galveston Independent School District are closed on Tuesday, officials said Monday.
As the state braced for the storm, Abbott had been in contact with officials along the Gulf Coast “to make sure that we work together, to make sure that at the local level we are prepared. to whatever the storm can bring, ”he said.
Texans should heed local advice, the governor said, adding the state would weather the storm like many others.
“It seems like every time we have heavy rains in the Houston area, there are people driving in high water, and they sometimes lose their vehicles, and worse yet, sometimes lose their lives. Your life is the most important thing you have. “Said Abbott. “Be careful when traveling to the Houston area in Harris County over the next few days. “
Louisiana’s recovery efforts threatened
A state of emergency has also been declared in Louisiana, which is still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Ida two weeks ago.
“The most serious threat to Louisiana is in the southwestern part of the state, where recovery from Hurricane Laura and the May flooding continues,” Governor John Bel Edwards said. “In this area, heavy rains and flash floods are possible. However, it is also likely that all of southern Louisiana will experience heavy rain this week, including areas recently affected by Hurricane Ida. “
Ongoing efforts to restore electricity after Ida could be slowed down and some of what has already been restored could be lost for some time to Nicholas, Edwards said on Monday.
As of early Tuesday, more than 97,000 customers in Louisiana were left without power, according to PowerOutage.US.
Prior to Nicholas, the National Guard scheduled Monday to deploy 80 high seas vehicles, 23 boats and 15 planes in southwest Louisiana and central Louisiana and will remain ready to respond in southeastern Louisiana. Louisiana if necessary, Edwards said.
CNN’s Deanna Hackney, Amy Simonson, Raja Razek, Carma Hassan, Gregory Lemos and Rebekah Ries contributed to this report.