Though Nicholas doesn’t pack the high winds Ida did when it made US landfall on August 29, it is a slow-moving rainmaker that could dump up to 20 inches of precipitation over the next few days.
Dangerous conditions still exist in Houston, city officials warned.
“Power outages mean some streetlights and traffic signals remain out and downed power lines may be on the road and hard to see in the dark,” officials said in a news release.
Much more rain is expected to fall in Louisiana and forecasters predict some areas will see 2 to 3 inches in an hour.
Rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches — and in some places up to 20 inches — are likely through early Friday in places from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.
More than 6.2 million people are under flash flood watches that extend from Texas to the Florida Panhandle. More than 700,000 of those people are in the New Orleans area, according to the National Weather Service.
The center of the storm, which made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane early Tuesday, slowed and is expected to stall in Louisiana where it will dissipate.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said the storm is expected to drop some of its heaviest rain in areas impacted by Hurricane Ida.
“I suspect that there will be some of these homes and businesses that have begun to receive power again after Hurricane Ida, they may lose it because of Nicholas, because all of those electric companies have yet to restore the full redundancy and resiliency of their systems,” the governor warned in a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Texas man tries to keep store open
Nicholas’ core first came ashore near the eastern part of the Matagorda Peninsula, about 10 miles west-southwest of Sargent Beach, Texas, at about 1:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, packing 75 mph winds.
Among those without power was Bart Stanley, whose family has owned Stanley’s General Store in Matagorda, Texas, since 1964. The storm also ripped the canopy off the gas station part of the store, causing the worst damage he’s seen in all that time.
Stanley didn’t know the extent of damage nearby, but he heard from customers that apart from downed trees and lack of power, homes seem to still be intact, he told CNN.
“I came down here to get our store open so that people could get coffee and gas and whatever else they need because there’s no place else for like 30 miles away,” he said.
Texas prepares for heavy downpours
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed an emergency declaration, warning residents to be prepared for Nicholas as a “substantial water event.” People should be prepared for “extreme high-water events, including flooding and potential damage caused by the rainfall,” Abbott said, adding the system also could spawn tornadoes.
Louisiana recovery efforts threatened
A state of emergency also was declared in Louisiana.
Ahead of the storm, the Louisiana National Guard planned staged 80 high water vehicles, 23 boats and 15 aircraft across the southwest and into central parts of the state, Edwards said Monday.
CNN’s Alisha Ebrahimji, Deanna Hackney, Carma Hassan, Dave Hennen, Gregory Lemos, Raja Razek, Rebekah Riess and Amy Simonson contributed to this report.