Hurricane Nicholas grew into a Category 1 storm by the time it made landfall near Matagorda Bay, Texas, early Tuesday, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. The National Hurricane Center warned late Monday night that "life-threatening flash flooding impacts, especially in urbanized metropolitan areas, are possible across portions of the upper Texas Gulf Coast into far southwestern Louisiana." The streets of Matagorda Beach were already flooded from storm surge, meteorologist and storm chaser Reed Timmer documented early Tuesday.
Even before Nicholas made landfall, tens of thousands of Texans in the greater Houston area and elsewhere on the coast were without electricity. The major concern with Nicholas is that it will move slowly across Texas and into southwestern Louisiana, dumping more than a foot of rain in areas, especially in flood-prone Houston. Nearly the entire Texas coastline was under a tropical storm warning, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) declared a state of emergency Sunday night, noting that his state is still recovering from not just Hurricane Ida but also last year's Hurricane Laura and flooding in May.
Houston, soaked by 2017's slow-moving Hurricane Harvey, is preparing for more flooding Tuesday and Wednesday, but University of Miami Hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said he thinks Nicholas "will be magnitudes less than Harvey in every regard." Houston's school district, the largest in Texas, is closed through Tuesday, and Harry Styles had to cancel his show in Houston on Monday night. "Safety must take priority, so please go home and be safe," he tweeted. "I'm so sorry, thank you for understanding."
Nicholas is the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. The only other years since 1996 with 14 or more storms by Sept. 12 were 2005, 2011, 2012, and 2020, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.