SURFSIDE BEACH — Tropical Storm Nicholas weakened to a tropical depression early Tuesday evening after slowing to a crawl over southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana but still drenching the area with flooding rains.
The downgrade came the same day Nicholas blew ashore as a Category 1 hurricane, knocking out power to a half-million homes and businesses and dumping more than a foot of rain along the same area swamped by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Nicholas could potentially stall over storm-battered Louisiana and bring life-threatening floods across the Deep South over the coming days, forecasters said.
Nicholas made landfall early Tuesday on the eastern part of the Matagorda Peninsula and was soon downgraded to a tropical storm. As night approached Tuesday, its center was 60 miles east-northeast of Houston, with maximum winds of 35 mph as of 7 p.m., according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
However, weather radar showed the heaviest rain was over southwestern Louisiana, well east of the storm center.
The storm is moving east-northeast at 6 mph. The National Hurricane Center said the storm may continue to slow and even stall, and although its winds will gradually subside, heavy rainfall and a significant flash flood risk will continue along the Gulf Coast for the next couple days.
Galveston, Texas, saw nearly 14 inches rain from Nicholas, the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, while Houston reported more than 6 inches of rain. That’s a fraction of what fell during Harvey, which dumped more than 60 inches of rain in southeast Texas over a four-day period.