Nicholas strengthened into a hurricane late Monday near Matagorda Bay before it was expected to make landfall on the Texas coast overnight, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Into Wednesday, forecasters expect the storm to dump 6 to 12 inches of rain, with isolated areas receiving about 18 inches of rain, across the upper Texas coastal areas.
“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 hurricane center said in a 10 p.m. Monday update.
The storm had sustained winds of 75 miles per hour and even stronger gusts Monday night. Winds over 74 miles per hour would make a storm a Category 1 hurricane.
Before the storm strengthened late Monday night, tens of thousands of Texans were without electricity as power outages were reported across the Coastal Bend in places such as Bay City, Galveston and the greater Houston area, according to transmission companies CenterPoint Energy and AEP Texas and the tracker PowerOutage.us.
In Matagorda Beach, the storm flooded streets with strong rain gusts and debris from the beach, according to videos by meteorologist and storm chaser Reed Timmer on Twitter. The National Hurricane Center said Matagorda Beach and surrounding areas could see up to 5 feet of life-threatening storm surge as water moves inland from the coastline.