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Rewatch: Edwards Discusses Tropical Storm Nicholas Impact on Louisiana Ahead of Texas Landfall

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Public officials in storm-weary south Louisiana are on high alert as Tropical Storm Nicholas bears down on the Texas coast, prompting Gov. John Bel Edwards to hold a press conference Monday afternoon.

Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center warned in the 1 p.m. bulletin that Nicholas is “moving erratically” and could strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall just off the southern coast of Texas on Monday evening.

The top sustained winds were recorded at 60 mph, but they could reach 70 mph just before moving over Texas. The storm would be upgraded to a Category 1 Hurricane if those winds accelerate to 74 mph.

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Texas will likely experience the most severe impacts from the storm, including life-threatening storm surge in some areas and a high risk of flash flooding from as much as 20 inches of rain, but forecasters warn that southwest Louisiana, still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Laura last year, could see 5 to 10 inches of rain and flash flooding.

The metro area of New Orleans, currently in recovery mode from the catastrophic Hurricane Ida, and the Baton Rouge area could see between 2 and 10 inches of rain, according to the NHC. Parts of southeast Louisiana are also under a flash flood watch through Thursday.

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In anticipation of the storm’s impact in southwest Louisiana, Edwards declared a state of emergency Sunday night.

While the southwestern portion of the state is most likely to experience severe weather, Edwards encouraged the entire state of Louisiana to make preparations for the storm and what will likely be a week of wet weather, especially those still recovering from Hurricane Ida two weeks ago.

“This tropical storm has the potential to disrupt some power restoration and recovery work currently underway,” Edwards said in a press release announcing his disaster declaration. “I encourage anyone who has had recent damage from Ida, Laura or other disasters to take necessary measures to protect their home or business from additional harm. All Louisianans should pay close attention to this tropical system in the coming days.”

Edwards said in the Monday press briefing that the pre-landfall emergency declaration will allow the state to move federal disaster relief personnel, vehicles and equipment already in the state for Hurricane Ida recovery into position to respond to Tropical Storm Nicholas.

“We’re encouraging people to take this storm seriously because we are not in the posture that we would like to be before a storm — we’re still responding to the previous one in southeast Louisiana,” Edwards said.

More than 8,200 soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard and from other states are already on hand in Louisiana following Ida. Many of those can be moved to southwest Louisiana if the situation warrants.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal has staged 30 search and rescue boats in Lafayette to respond to potential flooding caused by Nicholas, and Edwards said that number can be doubled if necessary. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has 169 agents with boats and trucks ready to join search and rescue efforts.

The Department of Transportation and Development is prepared to barricade low-lying roadways that are prone to flooding.

Edwards said Louisianans do not have to look far for good reasons to take Tropical Storm Nicholas seriously.

“One of the things we have to guard against is dismissing the threat of this storm because it is not projected currently to reach hurricane strength before it makes landfall,” Edwards said. “Hurricane Ida, long after it ceased being a hurricane, caused devastating flash flooding because of rainfall throughout New Jersey, Delaware and New York.”

Edwards also pointed to the 2016 floods and other instances in which unnamed storms caused serious flooding in the state.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for...

  • * Port Aransas Texas to Sabine Pass
  • * Galveston Bay, Aransas Bay, San Antonio Bay, and Matagorda Bay

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...

  • * Port Aransas to San Luis Pass Texas

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...

  • * Mouth of the Rio Grande to Sabine Pass

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for...

  • * Baffin Bay to Port Aransas Texas
  • * Sabine Pass to Rutherford Beach Louisiana
  • * Corpus Christi Bay

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