Tropical Storm Nicholas Threatens Louisiana and Texas

NEW ORLEANS — Even as blue tarps cowl broken roofs throughout Louisiana and greater than 100,000 folks stay with out energy, a brand new tropical storm within the Gulf of Mexico is anticipated to convey extra wind and rain, more than likely slowing the state’s restoration from Hurricane Ida and threatening residents who’re already susceptible.

Louisianans are dreading the arrival of Tropical Storm Nicholas, which is anticipated to hit Texas on Monday morning and then push northeast alongside the Louisiana coast on Monday night time, simply over two weeks after Hurricane Ida tore by way of the state. Forecasters say that greater than a foot of rain may drench some areas.

“The neighbors and all of us, we’re feeling pretty anxious watching this other depression out there,” stated Valerie Williams, as she nervously watched the cloudy skies on Sunday afternoon from her house in Luling, about 30 minutes west of New Orleans. Her husband and son put in a tarp on her roof after Hurricane Ida’s winds broken it. “We don’t need another one — we really don’t,” she stated.

Ida left New Orleans with out energy for greater than 50 hours. Power has been restored in all however a sliver of town, however roughly 118,000 electrical clients outdoors New Orleans are nonetheless at nighttime.

Entergy, the biggest electrical firm within the state, has stated the brand new storm has the potential to delay how shortly these residents get energy again. New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana, which was hit hardest by Ida, may obtain as much as 4 inches of rain, whereas the southwestern a part of the state may see as much as 10 inches.

In Texas, the injury is more likely to be worse. Forecasters are warning of the potential for main flooding in cities from Brownsville, Texas, to Lake Charles, La., a metropolis of 85,000 folks.

Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana declared a state of emergency on Sunday night time. “All Louisianans should pay close attention to this tropical system,” he stated. Officials in Calcasieu Parish, which borders Texas and contains Lake Charles, established a number of sandbag-filling websites so that individuals may fortify their houses.

Mr. Edwards warned that the brand new storm would fairly seemingly trigger the worst injury within the southwestern portion of the state, the place many residents are nonetheless recovering from Hurricane Laura in August 2020 and flooding this previous May, when streets appeared like rivers and vehicles had been nearly completely submerged. But Mr. Edwards stated residents in different southern elements of the state had been additionally in peril, together with those that had sustained injury from Ida.

In Southwest Louisiana, many houses are nonetheless lined in blue tarps after Hurricane Laura wreaked havoc there. Overall, greater than 52,000 state residents have requested free set up of sturdy tarps by way of Blue Roof, a program funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The installations are carried out or overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The program is simply ramping up, however Col. Zachary L. Miller of the corps’s Ida restoration mission stated he had hoped to connect all non permanent roofs inside 60 days.

Now, he stated, Nicholas could delay staff’ efforts. “We understand the sense of urgency homeowners feel,” he stated. “And we also understand more rain can mean more damage.”