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Nicholas strengthens to hurricane ahead of Texas landfall
  • Updated

HOUSTON — Nicholas strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane Monday as it headed toward landfall along the Texas Gulf Coast and it was expected to bring heavy rain and floods to coastal areas from Mexico to storm-battered Louisiana.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said top sustained winds reached 75 mph a few hours before expected landfall.

Although the system was expected to generate only a fraction as much rain as Harvey, a hurricane warning was issued for Port O’Connor to Freeport, as well as a hurricane watch from Freeport to the western tip of Galveston Island. A tropical storm warning was issued for Port Aransas to Sabine Pass, as well as a storm surge warning for Port Aransas to Sabine Pass, including Galveston, Aransas, San Antonio and Matagorda bays. A storm surge watch is in effect from Sabine Pass to Rutherford Beach, Louisiana.

An automated station in Matagorda Bay registered a sustained wind of 76 mph with gusts to 95 mph, the hurricane center reported.

In flood-prone Houston, officials worried that heavy rain expected to arrive late Monday and early Tuesday could inundate streets and flood homes. Authorities deployed high-water rescue vehicles throughout the city and erected barricades at more than 40 locations that tend to flood, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

“This city is very resilient. We know what we need to do. We know about preparing,” said Turner, referencing four major flood events that have hit the Houston area in recent years, including devastating damage from Harvey, which flooded more than 150,000 homes in the Houston area.

Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo asked residents to stay off the roads Monday evening to avoid risking their lives or the lives of first responders who might be called to rescue them from flooded roadways.

“What I need each resident to do is get where you need to be by 6 p.m. and stay there,” said Hidalgo, the top elected official in Harris County, which includes Houston.

The Houston school district, the state’s largest, announced that classes would be canceled Tuesday because of the incoming storm. The weather threat also closed multiple COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites in the Houston and Corpus Christi areas, and forced the cancellation of a Harry Styles concert scheduled for Monday evening in Houston.

Late Monday night, shortly before landfall, Nicholas was centered roughly 45 miles southwest of Freeport. The National Hurricane Center said the storm was moving to the north-northeast at near 10 mph and was expected to continue on that path through the night, moving over extreme southeastern Texas on Tuesday. Forecasters said they expected the storm to turn more toward the northeast at a slower motion by late Tuesday and an even slower eastward track on Wednesday, when it was expected to drift over southwestern Louisiana.

Six to 12 inches of rain were expected along the middle and upper Texas coast, with isolated maximum amounts of 18 inches possible. Other parts of southeast Texas and south-central Louisiana and southern Mississippi could see 4 to 8 inches over the coming days.

“Listen to local weather alerts and heed local advisories about the right and safe thing to do, and you’ll make it through this storm just like you’ve had many other storms,” Abbott said during a news conference in Houston.

Nicholas was headed toward the same area of Texas that was hit hard by Harvey. That storm made landfall, then stalled for four days, dropping more than 60 inches of rain in parts of southeast Texas. Harvey was blamed for at least 68 deaths, including 36 in the Houston area.

After Harvey, voters approved the issuance of $2.5 billion in bonds to fund flood-control projects, including the widening of bayous. The 181 projects designed to mitigate damage from future storms are at different stages of completion.

University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said he expects Nicholas to be “magnitudes less than Harvey in every regard.”

The main worry with Nicholas will be its speed. Storms are moving slower in recent decades, and Nicholas could get stuck between two other weather systems, said hurricane researcher Jim Kossin of The Climate Service.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Sunday night, ahead of the storm’s arrival in a state still recovering from Hurricane Ida and last year’s Hurricane Laura and historic flooding. The system was expected to bring the heaviest rainfall west of where Ida slammed into Louisiana two weeks ago.

Across Louisiana, almost 120,000 customers remained without power Monday morning, according to the utility tracking site poweroutage.us.

In Cameron Parish in coastal Louisiana, Scott Trahan was still finishing repairs on his home from Hurricane Laura, which put about 2 feet of water in his house. He hopes to be finished by Christmas. He said many in his area have moved instead of rebuilding.

“If you get your butt whipped about four times, you are not going to get back up again. You are going to go somewhere else,” Trahan said.

Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said via Twitter that Nicholas is the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. Only four other years since 1966 have had 14 or more named storms by Sept. 12: 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2020.


Nicholas gets stronger, threatens to hit Texas as hurricane
  • Updated

By JUAN A. LOZANO Associated Press

HOUSTON — Tropical Storm Nicholas gathered strength Monday and threatened to blow ashore in Texas as a hurricane that could bring up to 20 inches of rain to parts of the Gulf Coast, including the same area hit by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and storm-battered Louisiana.

Although the system was expected to generate only a fraction as much rain as Harvey, nearly all of the state's coastline was under a tropical storm warning that included potential flash floods and urban flooding. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said authorities placed rescue teams and resources in the Houston area and along the coast.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said the system's top sustained winds were 70 mph, nearly hurricane strength and an increase of 10 mph from earlier in the day. If the winds hit 74 mph, the storm would become a Category 1 hurricane. It was moving north-northeast at 12 mph and was predicted to make landfall late Monday night along the central Texas coast.

An automated station in Matagorda Bay registered a sustained wind of 55 mph with a gust of 71 mph, the hurricane center reported.

In flood-prone Houston, officials worried that heavy rain expected to arrive late Monday and early Tuesday could inundate streets and flood homes. Authorities deployed high-water rescue vehicles throughout the city and erected barricades at more than 40 locations that tend to flood, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

"This city is very resilient. We know what we need to do. We know about preparing," said Turner, referencing four major flood events that have hit the Houston area in recent years, including devastating damage from Harvey, which flooded more than 150,000 homes in the Houston area.

Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo asked residents to stay off the roads Monday evening to avoid risking their lives or the lives of first responders who might be called to rescue them from flooded roadways.

"What I need each resident to do is get where you need to be by 6 p.m. and stay there," said Hidalgo, the top elected official in Harris County, which includes Houston.

The Houston school district, the state's largest, announced that classes would be canceled Tuesday because of the incoming storm. The weather threat also closed multiple COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites in the Houston and Corpus Christi areas, and forced the cancellation of a Harry Styles concert scheduled for Monday evening in Houston.

At dusk Monday, Nicholas was centered roughly 35 miles south-southwest of Matagorda, and a hurricane watch was issued from Port Aransas to San Luis Pass.

Six to 12 inches of rain were expected along the middle and upper Texas coast, with isolated maximum amounts of 18 inches possible. Other parts of southeast Texas and south-central Louisiana and southern Mississippi could see 4 to 8 inches over the coming days.

"Listen to local weather alerts and heed local advisories about the right and safe thing to do, and you'll make it through this storm just like you've had many other storms," Abbott said during a news conference in Houston.

Nicholas was headed toward the same area of Texas that was hit hard by Harvey. That storm made landfall, then stalled for four days, dropping more than 60 inches of rain in parts of southeast Texas. Harvey was blamed for at least 68 deaths, including 36 in the Houston area.

After Harvey, voters approved the issuance of $2.5 billion in bonds to fund flood-control projects, including the widening of bayous. The 181 projects designed to mitigate damage from future storms are at different stages of completion.

University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said he expects Nicholas to be "magnitudes less than Harvey in every regard."

The main worry with Nicholas will be its speed. Storms are moving slower in recent decades, and Nicholas could get stuck between two other weather systems, said hurricane researcher Jim Kossin of The Climate Service.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Sunday night, ahead of the storm's arrival in a state still recovering from Hurricane Ida and last year's Hurricane Laura and historic flooding. The system was expected to bring the heaviest rainfall west of where Ida slammed into Louisiana two weeks ago.

Across Louisiana, almost 120,000 customers remained without power Monday morning, according to the utility tracking site poweroutage.us.

In Cameron Parish in coastal Louisiana, Scott Trahan was still finishing repairs on his home from Hurricane Laura, which put about 2 feet of water in his house. He hopes to be finished by Christmas. He said many in his area have moved instead of rebuilding.

"If you get your butt whipped about four times, you are not going to get back up again. You are going to go somewhere else," Trahan said.

Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said via Twitter that Nicholas is the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. Only four other years since 1966 have had 14 or more named storms by Sept. 12: 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2020.


Local
top story
Women's Center of East Texas to reopen in Longview after winter storm damage repairs

The Women’s Center of East Texas shelter in Longview is expected to reopen this month after a monthslong closure for renovations following February winter storm damage.

“We are just waiting on a certificate from the zoning inspector,” Executive Director Hollie Bruce said.

The Women’s Center of East Texas serves survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking in Gregg, Harrison, Upshur, Marion, Rusk and Panola counties.

Bruce and Residential Services Director Tammie Porter said they are excited to reopen.

“We are happy to get this process over and done, and we’re just excited to get back in and do what we do,” Porter said. “The families with family violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking, we can give them a sense of normalcy.”

Bruce said the damage and the COVID-19 pandemic combined have been a challenge.

The storm froze the fire sprinkler and caused pipes to freeze, thaw and burst, flooding the facility. The damage was substantial, Bruce said.

Porter moved all residents from the shelter before the storm and flooding occurred.

“The firefighters got most of the water out, but it was up to my ankles,” Porter said, describing what the shelter looked like when she got there. “The firefighters did a great job.”

The ceiling collapsed over bunk beds in one of the shelter’s rooms, leading to water flowing through the entire facility. The floors throughout the building were destroyed.

“We had to take out the bottom two feet of every wall throughout the entire facility,” Bruce said.

The shelter, which is in an undisclosed location for security reasons, was uninhabitable throughout the repairs.

Still, the organization continued to provide services, including housing victims of family violence, at other locations during the closure.

Other services continued, such as the 24-hour hotline; individualized safety planning; legal advocacy; hospital, law enforcement and court accompaniment; and counseling and protective services support to victims of sexual violence, stalking and human trafficking.

The staff members also said they are excited for additional services, such as the addition of Winnie the dog to the staff. Winnie is about 6 months old and is in training to become a therapy dog.

“This shelter can see over 200, typically women and children, in a year,” Bruce said. “We do serve males as well.”

Porter said one goal of the shelter is to be a home for those who are staying and for residents to feel at home.

“We empower them, when they come in, that they come in one way but leave a better way with a whole new perspective on life,” Porter said.

“Our goal is to work with individuals from a trauma-centered perspective,” Bruce said.


Public_safety
Tropical storm-force winds possible in East Texas as Nicholas moves inland

From staff reports

Longview and Tyler could see between a half-inch and an inch of rain as the remains of HurricaneHurricane Nicholas move through the region, according to the National Weather Service.

Upwards of 3 inches of rain is possible in Lufkin based on the projected inland path of the storm, the service said Monday. Given the current track, the threat for heavy rainfall and possible flash flooding could become more of a concern across parts of lower East Texas and North Central Louisiana by the middle of the week, according to the NWS Shreveport office.

At 10 a.m. Monday, Longview, Tyler and much of East Texas remained in the storm’s cone of uncertainty, meaning the weakened center of Nicholas could pass over the region sometime after landfall. The projection brings a 10% to 20% chance the area could experience hurricane winds at some point during the next few days.

The NWS said the earliest likely arrival time of any tropical storm-force winds in East Texas would be around 8 a.m. today, though the winds could arrive sooner, depending on the speed of the storm.

The Shreveport office said Nicholas could lead to heavy rain and isolated flash flooding across the southern parts of East Texas and North Louisiana. It added that depending on later storm track and intensity, the threat could expand farther north to include more of the region up to the Interstate 20 corridor. In addition, some weak and short-lived tornadoes could be possible.

The Shreveport office said the threat of heavy rainfall and flash flooding will increase later in the week. As much as 3-6 inches of rainfall are possible over Deep East Texas into parts of North Central Louisiana through Friday.

The National Weather Service’s Shreveport office has scheduled an update about the storm for 11 a.m. today.


Local
40 Under Forty: New event will recognize East Texas young professionals; nominations begin today

Nominations begin today for ETX View Magazine’s new awards ceremony, 40 Under Forty, which will recognize young, influential leaders across East Texas.

By launching this inaugural event, ETX View is proud to recognize young professionals who have achieved success and excelled in their field of expertise before the age of 40. ETX View invites East Texans to nominate individuals who demonstrate leadership and who show dedication in their professional careers and in their community service.

The 40 Under Forty contest will feature 40 categories of industry in which individuals may be nominated. The contest will be divided into three phases: a nomination phase, a voting phase and the announcement of the winners.

The nomination phase begins Tuesday and ends at 5 p.m. Sept. 30. During this time, individuals may write in the name of a nominee under the age of 40 who is deserving of such recognition in each category. Nominations can be made by visiting ETX View’s website at etxview.com/40_under_forty.

The top three nominees in each category will move on to the voting phase, in which East Texas residents will be invited to cast a ballot for the young professionals they believe to be most deserving.

The voting phase will begin at 5:01 p.m. Oct. 2 and will last through Oct. 15. The voting ballot can be accessed by visiting ETX View’s website at etxview.com/40_under_forty.

Individuals may cast a ballot once per day during the voting period. Additionally, all nominees will be photographed and interviewed during the voting phase.

The winners of the inaugural 40 Under Forty event will be unveiled Dec. 10 at a community gala in which all nominees, their guests and employers will be invited to attend.

The inaugural banquet will be held Dec. 10 at The Villa in Tyler. Pete’s Dueling Pianos will serve as the evening’s entertainment and all attendees will be treated to a meal provided by Azalea Catering Co. of Tyler.

In addition to the celebratory banquet, ETX View will also publish a special edition of the magazine in which the 40 winners will be profiled. The commemorative magazine will be released Dec. 12.

ETX View is a bi-monthly magazine that celebrates the best of East Texas life and culture. Its award-winning writers, photographers and designers showcase dynamic stories of the people, events and trends that represent the community.

ETX View is a product of M. Roberts Media, the parent company of the Longview News-Journal and the Tyler Morning Telegraph. The bi-monthly magazine is inserted into newspapers for Tyler and Longview subscribers and is available on stands across East Texas.

For questions or information about 40 Under Forty or ETX View, contact Editor Christina Cavazos at (903) 237-7734 or ccavazos@mrobertsmedia.com. For 40 Under Forty event sponsorship opportunities or to advertise in ETX View, contact Advertising Director Alyssa Hankins at (903) 596-6295 or alyssa@mrobertsmedia.com. To see the latest ETX View stories, visit etxview.com.


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